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The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and its Illustrations of the American Dream

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The American dream can be defined as the promise of living in America with opportunities for all, regardless of social class, and according to their ability and effort (Schnell, 2010). Proponents of the American dream believe that there is equal opportunity for all in the American society to achieve success. Success is not pegged on social status, race, or creed, but rather on an individual’s own efforts. The definition of the American dream has unique interpretations to different people. The most common meaning is that of a life of abundance and prosperity, characterized by economic rewards that enable one to live a middle class life of comfort. Here, success is measured by material possessions such as beautiful homes, cars, a high income, and the ability to spend on luxury items. America is considered a land of plenty, and as such, many who come to the United States in search of the American dream have this form of success in mind.
The second meaning of the American dream is that of social justice, and the inclusion of all in the social and political aspects of American life. This is the American dream that is best illustrated in Frederick Douglass’ narrative. This is the dream that was sought by the civil rights movement, which was focused on widening opportunities for all Americans, regardless of their race or social status. This American dream is however more tightly intertwined with race, than with social status. Douglass’ narrative demonstrates the challenges faced by members of minority races in America in their pursuit of the American dream of equal opportunity, upward mobility, and inclusion in other social and political aspects of American life.
The American dream is based on several fundamental components, which are...


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...rm on slave workers, as well as denying them their human rights. The slave owners work hard to amass wealth through their plantations, and in carrying out several trades, including carpentry, and calking.
The slave Frederick however, seeks the American dream of a just and equal American society where each man is free to pursue success. Frederick does realize his dream when he escapes to New Bedford. Here, Frederick finds people of similar color enjoying the same comforts of life as white people around America. Frederick embarks on living his American dream through pleading the cause of slaves and urging for their release.














Works Cited

Frederick Douglass, (2007). Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass: An American
slave, written by himself. Filiquarian Publishing, LLC.

Schnell, (2010). The American dream. GRIN Verlag Publishers.


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