American Dream By John Steinbeck The Dream of the American Dream John Steinbeck, in his essay America and Americans, uses many contradictions to explain his views on the American Dream. I have witnessed and experienced many of these contradictions in my life. Through my experiences, I have learned to believe that the American dream is no more than just a dream. One of the first contradictions Steinbeck uses that I have personally experienced is, We are alert, curious, hopeful, and we take more drugs designed to make us unaware than any other people. This quote almost perfectly describes one of my cousins.
She at one time was very bright and intelligent. In fact, she had over a 4.0 grade point average through her fist two years of high school. However, she began taking drugs and progressively followed a downhill track until she was barely even able to think at all. I do not think that a girl almost killing herself and ending up as a vegetable is part of the American Dream. Another example of a contradiction Steinbeck uses in his essay that I have personally witnessed is, We spend our lives in motor cars, yet most of us – a great many of us at least – do not know enough about a car to look in the gas tank when the motor fails. I observed this when my grandma’s car broke down once.
She had her car towed to the mechanic, and after about a week of it being examined, the mechanic called my grandma and told her that the only problem with the car was that it was out of gas. If we were living the American dream, would my grandma be so lazy as to have her car stop running and never look at the gas gauge? Would she have spent hundreds of dollars getting her car fixed when five dollars would have been suitable for gas? The answer to both questions is no. One final contradiction that Steinbeck uses in his essay that I have personally witnessed is, In no country are more seeds and plants and equipment purchased, and less vegetables and flowers raised. It seems like every other week my neighbor two houses down brings home bags of seeds for plants, trees, fruits, and vegetables, yet their back yard still looks like all they plant are weeds. They even hire landscapers to come and work on their yard. However, two weeks later the yard looks like as though it has never been touched.
My neighbors have great ideas, but they never finish them. Spending a mere fortune and getting nothing but what you started with is not a part of the American dream. To most, the American dream is seen as no more than a dream. That is my belief on the prestigious dream that attracts many to this country also. I do not believe that the dream is really possible with people as lazy as they are, and that is why it is called a dream. However, if we as a society washed away our laziness, maybe our dreams could come true.