RESPONSE TO THE POEM AND ORAL HISTORIES
In Phillis Wheatley`s poem, the writer indicates that despite the fact that he was a slave and had to bare the hardships that come with slavery, he reckons the fact that it had its positive side altogether. He initially had to go through criticism humiliation and being despised owing to his race. However, eventually he is grateful for being introduced to civilization, knowing about religion, thus improving his level of literacy even to knowing about God.
Reading the oral histories of former slaves, they commonly talk of the hardship encountered in the times of slavery. Discrimination, forced labour, lack of proper health care and other forms of human rights denial. It comes out clearly that some people had other people subject to them insinuating that they had more power or were better than them. These narrators all indicate the need and desire to experience and live in better conditions at the times they were subject to slavery.
The American Dream generally refers to the idea of prosperity and success, leading a better life that depends upon one’s own abilities and hard work as opposed to class or social status. We all were created with equal abilities and according to United States Declaration of Independence; we can well see that the American Dream is about playing on equal ground and opportunity.
The American Dream is justified in that despite the though and harsh conditions gone through by the slaves it also gives them something in return; civilization, literacy, employment and development at the end of it all. They are eventually liberalized and get the much yarned for freedom to work for their own gain and not another person’s. They actually lead better lives after their masters release them in order to enjoy their rights and freedom, hence the realization of the American Dream of success, prosperity and all men being equal in general. However, as is seen in Garza & Fossum (2008), this is still yet to be fully realized many years after independence.
RESPONSE TO THE HORATIO ALGER`S STORY
As seen in the previous post, the American Dream is basically the idea of prosperity and success, leading a better life that depends upon one’s own abilities and hard work as opposed to class or social status. In Horatio Alger`s story, traits and characteristics of this have well been spelt out. Ragged Dick who is only an orphan struggles with life’s hurdles to climb up the social ladder. Through his hard work, determination and perseverance he is able to achieve what he desires. This boy has defied the odds of being an orphan, hardly possessing any life earned skills and takes care of his needs at the tender age of seven.
As is typical of the American Dream, the narrator exhibits prosperity, success and wealth achieved accounting to Dick being hard-working which is contrary to what one would think of him owing to his social status. Also as is indicated in Cardwell`s Heroism, it is not only success and being virtuous and industrious that counts for one to realize the American Dream. Instead one also needs to have physical perfection. According to Alger (1896), Ragged Dick being a person who did the best he could at the down of the slightest opportunity was successful and indeed portray more than just that. He was handsome, talented among other traits that played a fundamental role towards his achievements and desires. Horatio Alger really brought out the American Dream ideologies in his story.
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