How Has the American Dream Changed over Time?

Since the nineteen-twenties and thirties times have changed and the American dream has evolved dramatically along with it. The essence of the American dream is the idea that people are free to pursue whatever path they choose for their life. However the desire of the people has changed over time because of contextual changes and this has caused the change in the American dream. The poem “Provide, Provide” by Robert Frost depicts a world about the here and now. The people in these times lived by the idea of “live fast die, young and leave a good looking corpse.” The poem “Apology” by William Carlos Williams talks of a different side of the American dream, immigrants to America struggling to survive through inequality. The film American Beauty (1999), directed by Sam Mendes, shows a more recent world where the American dream is all about acquisition of commodities and obtaining a perfect house, job, family, everything.
The American dream of the nineteen-twenties was centered around the notion of “live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse.” People were involved with excess use of alcohol, drugs and were spending big. There was a sense of unity between people, which was partly influenced by the idea that everyone had all just been to war together and now it was over they should all celebrate together. When 1929 came and the Great Depression hit this caused a halt to the spending. The attitude and the excessive consumption and spending of the nineteen-twenties went on hold, and as a result people asked themselves, ‘why spend?’ By the nineteen-nineties the American dream had shifted back towards spending but in a different light. People became obsessed with commodities and acquisition of goods. Everyone had to be more successful than everyone else and this led to alienation between people and a materialistic view of life.
The poem “Provide, Provide” by Robert Frost represents this 1920s attitude towards the American dream. The idea to “Die early and avoid...