Glengarry Glen Ross: The American Nightmare
American dream is at times used in the phrase “Chasing the American dream,” is the ethos of the US as the nation in which freedom involves a promise of success and prosperity. In American dream as first used by James Adams in the year 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller of every one, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” it doesn’t matter the social class or the conditions of birth. The American Dream idea has a foundation in the United States Declaration of Independence in the second sentence which indicates that all people are created equal and they are endowed by their creator with some inalienable rights life, pursuit of happiness and liberty included. (Jim 200)
The ownership of home is at times used as the proxy for attaining the prosperity that is promised; the ownership has been the symbol of status that distinguishes the middle class and the poor. A times the identification of the dream with success in the field of sports and how immigrants look forward to joining the way of American life, (Jim 120).
The phrase American Dream has been used in many ways, however essentially the phrase American Dream suggests that all people have the capability of succeeding through hard work and that all individuals have the potentiality of living happy and successive life. Many philosophers have expanded on or refined the American dream definition, and also the concept has been subjected criticism. many have a believe that the American society structure belies the goal that is idealistic about the American Dream pointing fingers on the inequalities that is rooted in race, class and the ethnic origin which gives the suggestion that attaining the American dream is a toll order.
The concept of the American Dream involves some level upward movement. In line of thought many philosophers and industrialists have given there definition. For example Andrew Carnegie in the treaties that are found in the book ‘climbing the ladder’, defines this phrase of the American Dream as the capability of rising to the position that is high by constantly the climbers reminding themselves that there position is being at the top. In contrast to this, the original meaning given by James Adams in 193, the term was meant to refer less to the material or any professional success but to refer to the personal fulfillment. With him he wanted the dream to mean the land where life is good and rich and fuller for everybody.
It was not supposed to be the dream of expensive cars and merely high wages but the dream in which every man and every woman has the capability of rising to the fullest potential of which they are innately able. The American dream then has to assume that individuals have the capability for the upward movement; it assumes that all people have equal chances of capability to attain this upward movement. The restriction that comes on their way is only the restriction that exist is there own intelligence, willingness and desire to work hard. The reason of life is the personal fulfillment, and gives warning to these who are not able to achieve their goals have failed in other terms, (Stephen and Douglas 518).
However there existing tension that lurks in these assumptions about the dream of America. For example, though Carnegie implies that everybody is able to find his or her place at the top level, he notes only that every man and woman can achieve the status of the fullest which they are innately able to, all individuals were created in an equal manner, Adams intimidates, the fact that some people are more equal than others as noted by David Kamp in his article “Rethinking the American Dream .” the American dream has become the way for the Americans set for themselves goals that can not be achieved and then make a conclusion that they are failures when they become unable to attain these goals. In other terms, even the most versions that is optimistic of the Americans Dream has the faults of making assumption that every one in line of achieving that dream is under the possession of equal resources hence the same probability of succeeding, (Jim 200).
The history of the idea of the American Dream is older than the United State itself back in 1600 as individuals began to invent all kinds of hopes and the aspirations for the new continent that is largely unexploited,(Stephen and Douglas 518). A lot of these dreams concentrated on land ownership and prosperous business establishment which theoretically could lead to happiness and some individuals also incorporated freedom of religion into their definition of American Dream. At the time of great depression many people wrote about the American Dream, they codified the concept and entrenched it in the society of America.
The person who believes in the American Dream, have the notion that every thing is attainable through working hard. The concept has a play on the idea that the American is a classless society, though it is oblivious that not as any examination of the United States closely reveals the reality. The idealistic vision enclosed the American dream in also includes the assumption that individuals are not discriminated against on the roots of race, gender, religion and the national origin. This is another thing that is not correct about the United States.
The real meaning of the American dream has changed in the history. The ethos have changed in the current world, they simply indicate the capability through the process of participation in the society and the economy for every body to attain prosperity. According to the Dream, the things included are the opportunity for individuals’ children to grow up and in the process get reasonable education and the career with no barriers that are counted as artificial. I is the chance to make personal choices without restrictions that can be prior in limiting individuals according to their religion, class ethnicity, caste, ethnicity or race. (Jim 120)
The dream has been credited for its assistance in the building of the cohesive American experience but has also been criticized or blamed for the expectation that are inflated for example in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross: The American Nightmare.
Glengarry Glen Ross written and produced by David Mamet brings the reality version of the American dream to the theatres. With many people focusing more on getting rich and owning the world through a moving to greener pastures the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” negates the idea and clarifies on the dos and don’ts in pursuit of wealth. David Mamet writes about a salesman in the real estate sector and the many investment opportunities that he sells to victims. Rick Roma, Shelley “The Machine” Levene, Dave Moss, and George Aaronow help in bringing the cast to a spectacular piece of art (Gleiberman, para.4).
The executive motivator Alec Baldwin plays hi role perfectly and as the new incentive package is introduced then competition sets in. This is in a bid to keep one job at the end of the month. Real threats posed to their salesmanship jobs only include two positions and the third person becomes jobless. This works as a great motivator to work and produce results, just like in the American dream wealth acquisition is the driving force towards the search but the difference is the setting in that in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross it depicts that everyone can pursue his dreams from any place given enough challenges; whichever the place achieving once ambitions lies only a motivator away rather than presence of much wealth and good economy (Rioux, & Rioux, para.2).
This is seen in the fact that Shelley has to go through numerous challenges that must be overcome including; paying medical bills, home related bills, and other loads of expenses which make him exhausted. In addition, He has to go through psychological pressures through rejection by his wife. This is a complete opposite of the African dream that is painted with images of fun, plenty, and a stress free life (Hudgins, p.2). It is seen as one would never struggle through numerous hustles and pressures but have an easy ride all through. The assurances of a rich luxurious life in the American Dream are completely shattered in a nut shell and the ideas of lavish houses, cars, and bungalows buried in this movie which clearly indicates that in America you have to struggle your way up “Nothing comes easy” (Rioux, & Rioux, para.5).
This movie clearly indicates that given the pressure to perform then it is not only in America but anywhere else that one can achieve and build a bright future that one dreams off. The situation is more emphasized in the movie than the place. The will to go on and achieve makes it even more appealing and another clear message to those willing to forego their countries in pursuit of the American dream that struggles are all over and doesn’t matter the economic status of the country and all one needs to do is overcome the challenges and become a winner.
Levene makes numerous visits to clients and even tries to bribe the manager just to keep the salesmanship in the real estates company (Gleiberman, para.5). Here two things crop up first is the notion that people go to take up good and easy jobs as in their dreams forgetting that other challenging unexciting odd jobs awaits them. Secondly is the fact that residents are faced by numerous challenges in the jobs they are in.
These two ideas crush the notion of “my place is at the top” and worse still the notion of the place being better, fuller, and richer for everyone seeking the dream. It provides the true reality that people must understand before seeking the dream which has numerous assumptions. The American dream, assumes that everyone is capable of upward mobility; that they are all equally capable of this mobility; that they are restricted in this mobility only by their own intelligence and willingness to work; that the purpose of life is individual fulfillment; and that those who do not attain these goals have somehow failed. This assumption is brought to reality by the work that Levene does and the challenges he goes through in trying to make ends meet. The idea of equality, fairness, and huge success from little work is completely eliminated.
The unbearable facts of racism, man for himself attitude, sexism, and intense competition is brought out in the movie which are not in line with the already stipulated values in the American dream such as equality and work ethics (Hudgins, p.2). The search for the top leads for Levene sometime prove futile since other clients send leads which are cards with information on the possible buyers of property have no authentic interests.
The situation is further aggravated by the presence of sales experts that can acquire the leads easily and earn the premium leads. One such sales agent is Roma who is a hotshot. He has perfection in salesmanship that he manipulates clients to buy the leads. This portrays the attitude of survival for the fittest and such a society is not like the one described in the American dream. The American dream land flows with milk and honey it is so tempting to be in and one can give up everything just to be in it. The movie completely taints the image tarnishing it to be a society of the hardworking, connected, and strong. Surviving in such a society does not need a foreigner but one who is stable and adapted to the hustles of life.
The will to earn the premium leads make Levene forge false purchases of leads in order to convince buyers to buy from him which is an idea of a struggling to survive individual though it works for him he is sold out by the manager. The magnitude of the struggles is seen when Moss is fed up with salesmanship and decides to quit. This means that the American dream is no easy ride as many may think or perceive. Moss colludes with Aaronow to rip of leads in the company; this is a clear sign of crime.
Many people may seek the American dream only to turn to criminals this will grow gradually since they will start with telling lies and cheating to make sales and when all does not work as planned the easier options are applied such as stealing (Gleiberman, para.7). Numerous complaints are received by all the actors a clear indication that this dream is a hell lot more than people believes or imagine.
This movie clearly contradicts the notion of the American dream giving people the option of working at the place they are in instead of searching for better pasture elsewhere where risks are high and returns not guaranteed. This cast can be described as the complete opposite of the American Dream which is filled with hopes for a bright future full of lavish and luxurious lifestyles. It gives caution to all people to look before they leap, lest the jump from the frying pan into the fire and this is the American Nightmare.