Monday, 12 January 2015

Failure of the American Dream

The failure of the American Dream. For many years this has been at the back of many peoples minds and was reflected in various media. Since the recent events in america this has once again been brought to my attention. Here is some proof that many people believe that the American dream has failed.

At first glance the first thing that you will realize that this cartoon is describing the American dream and you can see how many people are trying to work towards it. The next thing that I noticed was that the staircase the people are using is starting to fall apart. This is representing the continued deterioration of the American dream. Furthermore, if you look at the characters depicted there are only a few that actually notice that the staircase is starting to fall apart. This is showing that few people choose to acknowledge that the American dream is falling apart. The main idea of this picture is that the american dream is crumbling and the artist uses a staircase to give a representation of how unaware the majority of the populace is.

This next photo is a shift to reality. This was taken during the great depression but, still has context since the events in Ferguson and New York. In this photo you can see that the only people in this line are black and they are likely in line for so sort of assistance because, many of them are holding bags or pales. Furthermore, in the background you can see the advertisement showing a white family in a car happily driving with the slogans "Worlds Highest Standard Of Living" and "There's no way like that American way". This shows the difference between the perceived american dream and what the majority of citizens are going through are almost on two different worlds. Also, in the advertisement the family depicted is white compared to the black people waiting in line, this shows that the american dream had already started to fail because, the populations idea of the American dream only involves white people. The main idea of this photo is that the american dream does not apply to everyone so it is starting to crumble.

This next cartoon is one that i feel reflects with many people that are around our age. In this comic it shows two friends, the first one got stuck in a part time job after high school and never went to college or university. The other girl went to college and got a degree, this has lead her now where so she is going to apply for a part time job just like the other girl. this is showing that the traditional American dream of getting a degree and then getting a well paying job is no longer the reality. Furthermore, the girl that did not go to college is probably better off because, she won't have to pay student loans and she already has a job. Also, in the attitude of the girl that went to college changes and by the end of the conversation she is slouching and has stopped smiling. This shows that she had no idea that she would be looking for a part time job after. Which demonstrates the ignorance that people have and think that the American dream is still strong but in reality it is crumbling. The main idea of this comic is that the traditional symbols of success no long lead to the American dream.

This image is showing the typical american family checking out of a hotel or as they say "the American dream". The person at the desk says that they have given everything the own back but they still own more money. This is representing how no matter how much debt you try to pay off their will always be more and the more debt that you have the further the American dream seems. Furthermore, the family is in cheap clothes and look saddened by having to "sign out". You can clearly see this by the look on the little girls face and the fact that she has a tear streaking down her face. The main idea of this picture is that it is almost impossible to reach the American dream because, of the massive amounts of debt that the majority of families have.

In conclusion, all of these photos share the same idea of the American dream. This would be that the American dream has failed and people are to ignorant to realize this or they are to poor to ever hope of achieving it. 


Suich, Alexandra The American Dream, RIP? Hand Drawn

Bourke-White, Margaret Highest Standard of living Photograph

Sullivan, Nate The American Dream? Hand Drawn The "New Normal" American Dream Hand Drawn


  1. I find the subtext of your second photo to speak loudly. While the billboard depicts a white family happy to be together, on the open road, there are black people standing in line in a rather low standard of living to contrast with the billboard.

  2. Solid Callum . There is definite lack of support for the american dream, clearly tons against it . Good use of your images to help support your thesis . I did however find that some of the images were looking at similar angles of the american dream. The perspective in the first image of the people being oblivious to the stairs falling apart is great, good work.