The Great American Dream?

         In many American movies the audience can see certain ideas placed on the board for scrutiny. Some of these ideas are included in every American's dream, or really the "great American dream." This "dream" is more of an idea that has brought many foreigners to our shores. The idea is that in America one can start from the bottom and work one's way up, hoping to end up with money, security, and family. Yet this dream is bashed to pieces for a lot of these hopeful people.

         Sometimes one cannot work one's way up because of a lack of education or for most foreigners the lack of American nationality. The American dream is not only for foreigners but for the lower class Americans. People who are born into a lower class family are raised to believe that with hard work they can make their lives better. Obviously this is not going to work for everyone.

         The 1941 movie Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles, is a perfect example of the American dream gone wrong. Kane (Buddy Swan), being born poor, was happy as a child. Even though his parents owned a boarding house and Kane had little to no friends he was comfortable with this and happy. Yet when Kane (Orson Welles) gets older and achieves the American dream he finds himself unhappy with his situation. The audience sees Kane with money and any material object that he could possibly fancy. The audience watches as Kane uses his money to buy love or to make others, who are happy, miserable. As this continues on he slowly becomes more and more isolated till his death, in which he is surrounded not by loved ones but by "loved" possessions.

Amy Hiett

Table of Contents