Spring2012 Eng255 Blogs & Responses
A qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog
Response #5
Posted on May 13th, 2012 at 7:01 am by sally and

Sally Lu

Professor Alvarez


14 May 2012

Chasing a Dream While Losing a Part of You: ‘The American Dream’ and Assimilating at the Same Time in Latino Writers’ Articles


Starting in the early 20th century, the term “American Dream” has been known throughout the world. People from around the world have an ideal picture of what the American Dream looks like and may feel like. They had a certain belief that the American Dream will bring them happiness and wealth. America has been portrayed to them as a place where their dreams will come true and everything will work out for them. Given this image, immigrants have the desire to come to America and expect the place to greet them with opened arms, a great job and land available for them as soon as they arrive.

However, that does not seem to be the case as seen in the Latino immigrant community. Latino immigrants of New York have a certain expectation of the American Dream but when arriving in America, they live a different reality. They inevitably fall into assimilating to the American culture in order to try to achieve “the American Dream”. Part of attempting to achieve the “American Dream” involves feeling the need to fit into the American society. They feel like outcasts and isolated from the rest of the world if they did not assimilate to the American culture. Research articles that will be used to illustrate the immigrants’ different reality and assimilation to the American culture include: “What is ‘the American dream?’” by Nina Duran and “America Dreamed” by Rosa Martha Villareal to define what “the American Dream” means in a general sense. Research articles “Latinos and Lethal Violence: The Impact of Poverty and Inequality” by Ramiro Martinez, Jr. and “TO BE AND NOT TO BE: The Question is: Can Latinos simultaneously integrate into America and preserve their identity?” by Isis Artze will be used to show the reality of Latinos’ lives in America and whether they assimilate to the American culture, respectively. Anthology texts will be analyzed to bring attention to the reality of Latino immigrants’ lives in America consist of Piri Thomas’ “Alien Turf”, Jesus Colon’s “Grandma, Please Don’t Come!”, and “Puerto Rican Young Lords”. Anthology texts that will be used to discuss the assimilation of Latino immigrants to the American culture consist of Nicholasa Mohr’s “A Journey Toward a Common Ground: The Struggle and Identity of Hispanics in the USA”, Edward Rivera’s “From Family Installments 7: In Black Turf”, and Julia Alvarez’s “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents: Daughter of Invention”.


What is “the American Dream”?

When most people think of “the American Dream” their definition will most likely consist of a big house, a car, and a well-paying job. However, this may not be the definition for some. There may be some people in countries who do not receive a good education and when they think of “the American Dream”, the dream may be to receive the good education that America has the reputation of providing. For those who live in poverty, their dream may be to receive an education and make enough money to live in a more comforting environment. These examples show that the idea of “the American Dream” differentiates from one person to the next. One’s situation defines what his/her “American Dream” would be. As Nina Duran says in her article “What is ‘the American Dream?’ ”:

The American dream today is comprised of a big house, a high paying job and money for family generations to come. Aside from that, the American dream also means loving your work. It is no longer accepted to be in a workplace where you are unhappy. If this is the case, you still are on the outside of achieving the   complete dream. Education has also become a huge part of that dream. Years ago, women stayed at home and took care of the house and kids. That was their place while the  men were at work making money to support the family. Today, it is rare to see women at home. They are getting an education just like the men, and even many men are waiting until after high school before entering the workforce. This way, they can focus on achieving a degree. This would not have been accepted some hundred years ago, but we are shaping and molding the American dream every day. It is ever changing and there is no real definition, nor will there ever be one. To say that your idea of the American dream is the same as the person standing next to you me would be wrong. Although we may be striving to attain the same goals, there will always be something that sets our dreams a part. (Ethnic NewsWatch)

Indeed, “the American Dream” still has the components of “a big house, a high paying job and money for family generations to come”, but a new component requires one to “love” one’s work. Duran feels if one feels “unhappy” while working, then the person has not arrived at a place where it can be perceived as “the American Dream”. To reach that place, an education needs to be received. Today, many people walk the path of receiving an education and landing a good job. As Duran says, women did not take this path centuries ago. Their responsibilities consisted of staying “at home and took care of the house and kids while the men were at work making money to support the family.” Nowadays, women attend school “just like the men” to receive an education and be able to be part of the working world. Back then, it would not have been imagined for the women to attend school and work but “we are shaping and molding the American dream every day.” The definition of “the American dream” changes over time and people come up with different definitions of it many times. Therefore, the definition “is ever changing and there is no real definition, nor will there ever be one” because “the American Dream” does not comprise of one set dream but many different dreams that different people have. Due to different people having different dreams from one another, one cannot voice that everyone has the same “American Dream”. Duran feels it “would be wrong” to believe so. Though everyone “may be striving to attain the same goals, there will always be something that sets our dreams a part.” What “set our dreams a part” may be the fact that everyone has different living situations. Therefore, each person may need to start at a different place in order to reach the destination of the general idea of “the American Dream” where big houses, cars, and money fulfills everyone’s ideal dream.


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Comments so far:

Link Here | May 18, 2012,

Sally, looks good so far, you have probably the first third of your essay here, or maybe just under a third, but a good portion. I’ll be interested to see how you finish out the theory section and apply it to the texts. In your conclusion, you should extend some of this American Dream from Latinos back into all immigrant groups, and how it could play out in future research for, say, Asian, African, or European immigrants to the USA.

Also: refer to your text as an article, as, for example, “In this article, I will argue that the American Dream misrecognizes . . . ” Imagine your audience is the same for the journals you researched–that you are writing to fit in with the writers of that publication.

Some great writing this semester, keep up the great work.

5 out of 5 possible points.


Link Here | February 19, 2021,

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