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american dream Quotes

33 of the best book quotes about american dream
  1. #1
    “All over America today people would be dragging themselves to work, stuck in traffic jams, wreathed in exhaust smoke. I was going for a walk in the woods. ”
  2. #2
    “I want people to know what it feels like to nearly give up on yourself and why you might do it. I want people to understand what happens in the life of the poor and the psychological impact that spiritual and material poverty has on their children. I want people to understand the American Dream as my family encountered it. I want people to understand how upward mobility really feels. And I want people to understand something I learned only recently: that for those of us lucky enough to live the American Dream, the demons of the life we left behind continue to chase us.”
  3. #3
    “In the United States a man builds a house to spend his latter years in it, and he sells it before the roof is on: he plants a garden, and lets it just as the trees are coming into bearing: he brings a field into tillage, and leaves other men to gather the crops: he embraces a profession, and gives it up: he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves, to carry his changeable longings elsewhere. If his private affairs leave him any leisure, he instantly plunges into the vortex of politics; and if at the end of a year of unremitting labor he finds he has a few days’ vacation, his eager curiosity whirls him over the vast extent of the United States, and he will travel fifteen hundred miles in a few days, to shake off his happiness. Death at length overtakes him, but it is before he is weary of his bootless chase of that complete felicity which is forever on the wing.”
  4. #4
    “It is strange to see with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue their own welfare; and to watch the vague dread that constantly torments them lest they should not have chosen the shortest path which may lead to it.”
  5. #5
    “For me America was a place to bury memories. For Baba a place to mourn his.”
  6. #6
    “The opportunities that America offered made the dream real, at least for a good many; but the dream itself was in large part the product of millions of plain people beginning a new life in the conviction that life could indeed be better, and each new wave of immigration rekindled that dream.”
  7. #7
    “Very few Americans will directly proclaim that they are in favor of black people being left to the streets. But a very large number of Americans will do all they can to preserve the Dream. No one directly proclaimed that schools were designed to sanctify failure and destruction. But a great number of educators spoke of ‘personal responsibility’ in a country authored and sustained by a criminal responsibility. The point of this language of ‘intention’ and ‘personal responsibility’ is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. “Good intention” is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.”
  8. #8
    “Better luck than all this could hardly have been hoped for; there was only one of them left to seek a place. Jurgis was determined that Teta Elzbieta should stay at home to keep house, and that Ona should help her. He would not have Ona working – he was not that sort of a man, he said, and she was not that sort of a woman. It would be a strange thing if a man like him could not support the family, with the help of the board of Jonas and Marija. He would not even hear of letting the children go to work – there were schools here in America for children, Jurgis had heard, to which they could go for nothing. […] Jurgis would have it that Stanislovas should learn to speak English, and grow up to be a skilled man.”
  9. #9
    “For so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies. And knowing this, knowing that the Dream persists by warring with the known world, I was sad for the host, I was sad for all those families, I was sad for my country but above all, in that moment, I was sad for you.”
  10. #10
    “There were hardened criminals and innocent men too poor to give bail; old men, and boys literally not yet in their teens. They were the drainage of the great festering ulcer of society […] Into this wild-beast tangle these men had been born without their consent, they had taken part in it because they could not help it; that they were in jail was no disgrace to them, for the game had never been fair, the dice were loaded. They were swindlers and thieves of pennies and dimes, and they had been trapped and put out of the way by the swindlers and thieves of millions of dollars.”
  11. #11
    “Of these older people many wear clothing reminiscent in some detail of home – an embroidered waistcoat or stomacher, or a gaily colored handkerchief, or a coat with large cuffs and fancy buttons. All these things are carefully avoided by the young, most of whom have learned to speak English and to affect the latest style of clothing. The girls wear ready-made dresses or shirt waists, and some of them look quite pretty. Some of the young men you would take to be Americans, of the type of clerks, but for the fact that they wear their hats in the room.”
  1. #12
    “Ona might have married and left them, but she would not, for she loved Teta Elzbieta. It was Jonas who suggested that they all go to America, where a friend of his had gotten rich. He would work, for his part, and the women would work, and some of the children, doubtless – they would live somehow. Jurgis, too, had heard of America. That was a country where, they said, a man might earn three rubles a day; and Jurgis figured what three rubles a day would mean, with prices as they were where he lived, and decided forthwith that he would go to America and marry, and be a rich man in the bargain. In that country, rich or poor, a man was free, it was said; he did not have to go into the army, he did not have to pay out his money to rascally officials – he might do as he pleased, and count himself as good as any other man.”
  2. #13
    “For every one that Jurgis spoke to assured him that it was a waste of time to seek employment for the old man in Packingtown. Szedvilas told him that the packers did not even keep the men who had grown old in their own service – to say nothing of taking on new ones. And not only was it the rule here, it was the rule everywhere in America, so far as he knew.”
  3. #14
    “A very few days of practical experience in this land of high wages had been sufficient to make clear to them the cruel fact that it was also a land of high prices, and that in it the poor man was almost as poor as in any other corner of the earth; and so there vanished in a night all the wonderful dreams of wealth that had been haunting Jurgis. What had made the discovery all the more painful was that they were spending, at American prices, money which they had earned at home rates of wages – and so were really being cheated by the world! The last two days they had all but starved themselves – it made them quite sick to pay the prices that the railroad people asked them for food.”
  4. #15
    “The Dream is the enemy of all art, courageous thinking, and honest writing.”
  5. #16
    “America has nothing to fear from these newcomers, that they have come here for the same reason that families came here 150 years ago—all those who fled Europe’s famines and wars and unyielding hierarchies, all those who may not have had the right legal documents or connections or unique skills to offer but who carried with them a hope for a better life.”
  6. #17
    “The American Dream, that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily.”
  7. #18
    “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”
  8. #19
    “George: Godly money ripped from the golden teeth of the unfaithful, a pragmatic extension of the big dream.”
  9. #20
    “Nick: UP YOURS! …
    George: You take the trouble to construct a civilization…to…to build a society, based on the principles of…of principle … then all at once … through all the sensible sounds of men building … comes the Dies Irae. And what is it? What does the trumpet sound? Up yours.”
  10. #21
    “Let me explain it to you, let me run it down just briefly if I can. We’re looking for the American Dream, and we were told it was somewhere in this area. Well, we’re here looking for it, ‘cause they sent us out here all the way from San Francisco to look for it. That’s why they gave us this white Cadillac, they figure that we could catch up with it in that …”
  11. #22
    “Old elephants limp off to the hills to die; old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death with huge cars.”

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  1. #23
    “But what was the story? No one had bothered to say. So we would have to drum it up on our own. Free enterprise. The American Dream. Horatio Alger gone mad on drugs in Las Vegas. Do it now: pure Gonzo journalism.”
  2. #24
    “I tell you, my man, this is the American Dream in action! We’d be fools not to ride this strange torpedo all the way out to the end.”
  3. #25
    “This place is getting to me. I think I’m getting the Fear.”
  4. #26
    There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.
  5. #27
    I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone.
  6. #28
    America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves.
  7. #29
    Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.
  8. #30
    “First in space means first, period,” declared Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson. “Second in space is second in everything.”
  9. #31
    “What she wouldn’t have given for her father to see her—to see his baby girl who used to count the stars now sending men to travel among them. Joshua Coleman knew as if from second sight that Katherine, his brilliant, charismatic, inquisitive youngest child—a black girl from rural West Virginia, born at a time when the odds were more likely that she would die before age thirty-five than even finish high school—would somehow, someday, unite her story with the great epic of America.”
  10. #32
    “My mother believed you could be anything you wanted in America. You could open a restaurant. You could work for the government and get good retirement. You could buy a house with almost no money down. You could become rich. You could become instantly famous.”
  11. #33
    “In America the dream is to make it out of the ghetto. In Soweto, because there was no leaving the ghetto, the dream was to transform the ghetto.”
Book Topics › freedom
Children's Books About Freedom