The American Dream. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby , Midnight cowboy (1969), And black nationalism. What is the American Dream?. Happiness Personal Social and geographic mobility (American) As portrayed in literature, cinema, and music, the American Dream is
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Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Midnight cowboy (1969),
And black nationalism
Social and geographic mobility (American)
As portrayed in literature, cinema,
and music, the American Dream is
deeply personal, can be difficult to
attain and reflects the inequality in
The 3 artworks examine the American Dream from different perspectives of American Society.
The Great Gatsby – white male
Midnight Cowboy – poor immigrant
Malcolm X and Public Enemy – oppressed minority
Personal component: reinvents himself because of his love for Daisy, unique dream.
American component: to be with Daisy, Gatsby yearns to reinvent himself and move socially.
Keep in mind: Gatsby achieves the American component, and is a white male.
“I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream” (172).
Wealth didn’t do it for Gatsby. He rose up, and by many people’s definitions of the American dream, he was living it. At the same time, his American Dream was personal, and he did not fulfill it.
Background: Ratso Rizzo (NYC) and Joe Buck (Texas)
Commonality: Quest for happiness
Difficulty (see clip)
Benefits of the dream: provides hope, a reason to continue, and a goal.
Downfall of the dream: it doesn’t happen overnight, or necessarily at all, difficulty in achieving it is depressing.
“I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American Dream—I see an American nightmare” –Malcolm X
Party For Your To Fight
“For the original Black Asiatic man, cream of the Earth, and was here first, and some devils prevent this from being known, but you check out the books they own, even masons they know it but refuse to show it, yo. But it’s proven and fact, and it takes a nation of millions to hold us back.”
Blacks and other minorities are deprived of an equal opportunity to pursue the American dream.
Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988) responds to that and attacks the oppressiveness of the white man.
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