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Dream Narratives: What has changed? (Essay Sample)


Many authors have tackled the age old theme of the American dream as they have struggled with their own personal experiences of growing up in the United States.

Compare the theme of education and conformity in Sylvia Plath’ s “America! America!” and Kevin Jennings’ “American Dreams.” These two personal narratives were written nearly fifty years apart. What has changed? What hasn’t? How do these two texts relate to and reinforce ideas presented in the reading on pages 149-169 of Michel Foucault’ s Discipline and Punish?The answers to these questions must appear in the essay, and please explain more details.

This paper should be 3 pages in length, double-spaced, 12 point font. List any source you consult for information in your Works Cited. You MUST cite the primary texts you are using(America! America!, American Dreams, and Discipline and Punish). Use MLA format and parenthetical citation when necessary.

Remind again

Don't use any secondary sources, the citation can only use three articles that I uploaded.(America! America!, American Dreams, and Discipline and Punish)


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Dream Narratives
For Sylvia Plath and Kevin Jennings, the American Dream is almost the same. There are some differences in how the eras lived and what mattered but the American Dream somehow remains the same. Much has been said about the American Dream and what it entails. However, from these readings, in the end, the American Dream is more like a mirage and not something to be grasped. At any one time, a person finds themselves short of the ‘minimum’ requirements. Both Plath and Jennings struggled at some point with conformity but as will be explained later, the former succumbed to conformity while the latter found freedom in their independence.
What has changed?
In the two eras, a lot has changed. Plath notes that nothing mattered as long as one believed in the American Dream. She notes “Our accents, our money, our parents didn’t matter” (Plath, 53). At the time, people were all trying to achieve the same dream. Nothing mattered as long as one shared and believed in the American Dream. However, in Jennings’ story, certain things mattered. A good example is one’s accent. Having come from North Carolina, Jennings spoke in a certain way and this alienated him. Even though he shared in the dream, the way he spoke cast him aside. He writes that he had to assume a different accent and become a different person altogether. “I deliberately erased my accent and aped the false monotone of television newscasters” (Jennings, 688). He assumed what to him felt like the ideal personality of a person who relishes in the American Dream. However, as Plath notes, during her time, these things did not matter. The American Dream was for everybody who dared to strive and show some resolve.
What hasn’t?
As indicated before, a lot of things have not changed in both eras. First of all, the American Dream is described by both authors as something that is achieved through hard work. It is the idea that a person can be whoever they wish to be if they work hard enough. Plath describes it quite vividly noting “After all, we could be anybody. If we worked. If we studied hard enough” (53). It was a dream that was not set aside for a particular kind of people. “Did not lawyers rise from the loins of coalheavers

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