Broken Ambition: Why is The American Dream not Attainable

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1001 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Jan 21, 2020

Words: 1001|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Jan 21, 2020

Table of contents

  1. American Dream Essay: Hook Ideas
  2. American Dream Essay Example
  3. Works Cited

American Dream Essay: Hook Ideas

  • The Illusion of Prosperity: Step into a world where dreams are woven into the fabric of the American identity. Join me in unraveling the harsh reality behind the elusive American Dream and why it often remains just that—an unattainable dream.
  • An Eye-Opening Quote: As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Let's delve into the societal currents that impede the journey toward the American Dream and keep individuals from reaching their aspirations.
  • The Myth of Equal Opportunity: Explore with me the disparities in access to education, wealth, and opportunities that hinder the realization of the American Dream for many. Together, we'll uncover the systemic barriers that persist.
  • The Human Cost of Ambition: Delve into the personal stories of those who have chased the American Dream and found themselves disillusioned. Join me in examining the toll that relentless ambition can take on individuals and families.
  • Redefining Success: As we question the attainability of the traditional American Dream, consider how we might redefine success and aspirations in a changing society, one that values well-being, equity, and fulfillment over material wealth.

American Dream Essay Example

The American Dream is broken. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, recently stated that “in country, the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life.” America is known as a Land of Opportunity. Because it is the place that gives opportunities to everyone and can fulfill people’s desires. Most people pursue a happy life with a stable job, wealth, and success. American citizens have an equal opportunity for prosperity and success through hard working, regardless of which class they were born into. It is called the American Dream. Some people believe that the American Dream is achievable and possible with overcoming obstacles and hard working however, others say that it can’t be attainable without being born with. American Dream has turned into a “Nightmare” due to an income inequality. As the gap between the rich and everyone else rises, the chance to get better and greater opportunities between the rich and the poor also polarizes.

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So the American Dream is not attainable today.“As income inequality has grown, standard of living inequality has shrunk.” The gaps between the rich and the poor is increasing. They all could get some materials like smart phones, laptops, and refrigerator. But not the same standard of living. Although a doctor and a public officer could both own big, fancy televisions, only one of them could save retirement, buy a home, and afford a college education for his child. Barack Obama, the first African American President, gives some speeches about the idea of the American dream in December 4th, 2013, “their frustration is rooted in their own daily battles, It’s rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them.” They can’t get off the fear that they can live a better life and their kids will be better off then they were. The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. Unless they win the lottery of birth and circumstance, they will experience tough time to get off the poverty and upgrade their standard of living. Every citizens living in the United States dream about a successful and fulfilled life but, the American Dream has become just a dream. It is just broken that doesn’t provide the equal amount of opportunities for anyone. For those who get started out in middle class or lower than that, it is impracticable to fit a good paying job and live a successful and wealthy life, otherwise it has to take a lot of good luck.

A good education is important and necessary to achieving the American dream. Some studies claims that “Increasing gaps in academic achievement and educational attainments have accompanied the growth in income equality.” College is getting more expensive while wages are still too low. Parents have a hard time affording college tuition for their children. However, it would be totally different story when it comes to the rich family. The children who grew up in rich families would get better education and experience various opportunities. The rich children will then easily attend world-ranked universities with those great help from their parents. It is too obvious that they will attain great jobs that would finally lead to wealthy life just like how their parents have had. However, unlike this kind of people, those who grew up in the poor family cannot even imagine the life of the rich. They will barely feed themselves with their earnings. Since education costs a lot nowadays, they will just get the minimum education thus leading to low wage job. They even work as a part-time job while they are attending schools for paying expensive textbooks, college tuition and rental fee. Education should give the chance for anyone to achieve for prosperity and successful life. But, the growth of the income inequality take away the chance to attain education for those in working class. It is unfair for them who should be given an equal opportunity.

The American Dream doesn’t come true after all.Not only to individuals but also to our society we live in, income inequality has bad effects. Of course, that leads to people attaining the American dream as well and it even ruins the concept of democracy. For instance, the poor people cannot afford the expense that would be needed to hire high-priced lawyers when they are in bad situation. The rich people will win, of course, by using their money to attain what they want. Then, more and more poor people cannot try to represent their thoughts, so they would not participate in the political issues at the end. The world will function only by the hand of the rich. The gap between the rich and everyone else will widen as the politics intervenes.

How can we say Americans live in democracy if everyone cannot engage in their own nation’s affair? It doesn’t seem big problem but it can affect badly to Americans if looking into the future and next generation. The rising income inequality really is bad that “decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our system of self-government”. American Dream is also defined as the set of ideals including democracy and right. Therefore, decrease of the political participation affect poorly achieving the American dream.

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Although some people believe the American dream is still attainable as they live in the Land of Opportunity, it is not currently achievable. Anything can be achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking and hardworking, however the barriers like low wages, expensive college tuitions become big burdens to pursue a happy life with wealth and success in today’s society. The opportunity which is supposed to be given, taken away from people who are in working class have hard time with those barriers. Those who grew up in wealth can easily get it. There must be solutions that help the young people and future generations have an equal opportunity to succeed and fulfill their desires. Everyone should work together to avoid problematic outcomes and make the American dream attainable.

Works Cited

  1. Autor, D. H. (2014). Skills, education, and the rise of earnings inequality among the “other 99 percent”. Science, 344(6186), 843-851.
  2. Chetty, R., Hendren, N., Kline, P., & Saez, E. (2014). Where is the land of opportunity? The geography of intergenerational mobility in the United States. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(4), 1553-1623.
  3. Collins, C., & Ganong, P. (2019). Has rising inequality reduced middle-class income growth? Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from
  4. Deaton, A., & Case, A. (2015). Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(49), 15078-15083.
  5. Piketty, T., & Saez, E. (2014). Inequality in the long run. Science, 344(6186), 838-843.
  6. Stiglitz, J. E. (2012). The price of inequality: How today's divided society endangers our future. WW Norton & Company.
  7. Temin, P. (2017). The vanishing middle class: Prejudice and power in a dual economy. MIT Press.
  8. United Nations Development Programme. (2019). Human development indices and indicators 2018 statistical update. Retrieved from
  9. Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2018). The spirit level: Why greater equality makes societies stronger. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  10. World Economic Forum. (2020). The global social mobility report 2020. Retrieved from
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Prof. Linda Burke

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Broken Ambition: Why is the American Dream not Attainable. (2020, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Broken Ambition: Why is the American Dream not Attainable.” GradesFixer, 15 Jan. 2020,
Broken Ambition: Why is the American Dream not Attainable. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Feb. 2024].
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