Understanding the Resiliency of the American Dream

How does the American Dream continue to thrive in an America where
it is increasingly difficult for working-class people to achieve upward
mobility? One powerful way is its continued glorification in American
popular culture. Carey (1989) explains that the media play an important
role in society’s communication and understanding of reality. The pursuit
of the American Dream is a common plotline in Hollywood films.
For example, Working Girts simple rags-to-riches storyline is the basic
plot for dozens of Hollywood films. When the broader ideas of the
American Dream are considered, many more Hollywood films are
intrinsically based on this national credo. Given the ubiquitous nature of
Hollywood motion pictures, it is apparent that the American Dream is
alive and well in cinematic fare.
This book explains how contemporary Hollywood cinema reaffirms
the preeminence of the American Dream. Critical theorists have long
argued that the capitalist media prefer a hegemonic view that focuses on
the wealthy, yet the enormous change in the disparity between the ultrawealthy
in the United States and the vast majority of Americans begs
that the relationship between the media and social order be further
explored (“Income gap,” 2000; Miringoff and Miringoff 1999; Mishel,
Bernstein, and Schmitt 2001; Mishel, Bernstein, and Allegretto 2005;
“Poorest” 1997; “Rising tide” 1997; Shapiro 1995; Weinberg 1996). Herbert
(2005, A19) argues that the divide between the rich and all other
Americans is becoming “an unbridgeable gap.”

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