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Published: 30-10-2019

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The Abidance of an American Dream in Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Serving in Florida” and Adam Shepard’s Scratch Beginnings

A national ethos of the United States, the American Dream, is the ideal that all U.S. citizens ought to have an equal chance to accomplish prosperity and good results by way of persistence, determination, and challenging function. There are countless stories, nonfiction and fiction, that shape the American Dream right now. Nevertheless, due to unequal possibilities and lack of education, some Americans are left hopeless and stuck in low-wage jobs and poverty. Following her experience of living as a low class worker, Barbara Ehrenreich attempts to establish that it is most likely that low-wage workers will remain in minimum wage jobs and that the American Dream is unattainable in her experiment, “Serving in Florida.” Nonetheless, Adam Shepard rebukes Ehrenreich’s assertion by means of his inquiry, Scratch Beginnings, where he starts from the bottom and strives to accomplish his targets. Shepard attempts to change most Americans’ pessimism regarding the American Dream by way of his belief that a positive mindset can lead to accomplishment. Amongst the two performs, Shepard’s use of ethos makes his argument more persuasive in the notion that the American Dream is achievable for any individual.

In pursuance of bringing the American Dream to life, Shepard brings the story of “rags-to-fancier-rags” to life. His objective was to adjust the lethargic attitude Americans have towards reaching what may seem elusive by showing them that a optimistic mentality and attitude can change their lives. Starting off his experiment with just twenty-5 dollars, a sleeping bag, a tarp, an empty health club bag, a higher school diploma, and clothing on his back, Shepard operates toward his aim: a home, $two,500 in money, and a steady position within 365 days. Shepard attempts to inspire Americans who are reaching for the American Dream by saying, “I’m not an extraordinary person performing extraordinary feats. I don’t have some unique talent that I can use to ‘wow’ prospective employers. I’m average” (four). He claims himself to be practically nothing much more than average, establishing that anyone whether or not they are classified as “ordinary” or “special” can obtain the American Dream.

Contrary to Ehrenreich’s claim that the American Dream no longer exists, Shepard molds his outlook of living in “a globe of independence—free from responsibility—where every day would be [his] to seize, or, if [he] chose, to squander” (15). ­­He comes to a useful conclusion that the homeless men and women in the shelter select to reside in “a world loaded with possible but short on ambition” (15). Nevertheless, he strays from the rest of the crowd by encouraging and reminding himself, “Likewise, a day off would keep me from attaining my goal” (25). Shepard realizes that every single day is worthwhile simply because he can be a day closer to attaining his goals. Throughout the time he had to work relentlessly each and every day, Shepard kept a constructive mindset, which was 1 of the keys that unlocked the apartment he earned. He adds, “I knew that I was going to succeed. Now much more familiar with my surroundings, I knew what I had to do to make it come about. It wasn’t going to be straightforward, but I had a plan, and now it was just a matter of putting my program into effect” (35). Even though there were times of success, there were also times of fear when Shepard was rejected to function for specific jobs, however, he nevertheless continued to push himself. He expresses, “My faith was fading, but I remained fearless” (43). Via frugal tactics and genuine work, Shepard was continuously pondering ahead and taking benefit of little resources he had, which was how he earned his furnished apartment, $two,500 in cash, and a automobile in just six months.

As a profitable lady who came from “craft operate straight into the factory” (269), Ehrenreich comes to the conclusion that the poor will often be poor and the wealthy will get richer, failing to test her mathematical proposition and individual experiment. Unlike Shepard, Ehrenreich didn’t really feel motivated and hopeful for her future by functioning low-wage jobs. She usually felt as even though she could not be her true self due to the stress of being accepted by her coworkers. When her boss told her she can not bond with her customers, she says she was “feeling like I’ve just been stripped naked by the crazed enforcer of some ancient sumptuary law: No chatting for you, girl” (271). Feeling stripped from her rights, she claims, “Chatting with customers is for the lovely young college-educated servers in the downtown carpaccio joints, the little ones who can make $70 to $100 a night” (271). Not only did she feel physical discomfort in her experiment, but she also felt emotional distress and insecurities, which discouraged her from believing she can make her dream a reality. Additionally, she conveys that operating class folks have to be discreet about skipping a shift, taking drugs, and so-called “lunch breaks” due to the “corporate rationality” (272). Searching back at her previous life, Ehrenreich realizes a considerable difference among how middle and upper class workers get treated. Often instances, middle class workers are treated like prospective enemies, embarrassed by their employers, and lack standard rights like privacy and totally free speech. As a response from complaining customers, Ehrenreich admits that she started developing hatred for particular folks whom she never sought to hate. She complains, “There are the traditional asshole types—frat boys who down numerous Buds and then make a fuss…” (271). She becomes cognizant of the fact that she may well have changed from a person who got along with most men and women to a particular person who has private bias towards a particular group. She also doesn’t recognize the moderately brave woman she was previously when she couldn’t stand up for George, one particular of her good coworkers. In contrast to Shepard who felt encouragement and help from the homeless shelter, Ehrenreich felt negativity and constant pressure which caused her to ultimately give up in her experiment.

Ehrenreich encounters twisted circumstances and fails to discover the strength and motivation to get closer to the American Dream since of her unfavorable attitude and mindset. On the other hand, Shepard pushed himself via adversities by maintaining his good attitude and mindset alive. The difference amongst Ehrenreich and Shepard is their outlook on overcoming troubles with positivity. Shepard grabbed every opportunity to earn at least a penny a day. He didn’t look down upon any jobs—he worked for hours shoveling dog feces for only minimum wage. His attitude was that any job “would be better than nothing” (25). He concluded every single day with a constructive note for instance, “I was satisfied just to be working” (26). Furthermore, Shepard asserts that everyone—including women—need to work just as challenging as males do to achieve the American Dream. Even so, Ehrenreich implies that ladies have to depend on guys for their success. As she was browsing for a second job, she relates to her coworkers saying, “Of my fellow servers, everyone who lacks a operating husband or boyfriend appears to have a second job” (272). Alternatively of feeling the excitement and urgency of getting a second job, Ehrenreich implies that she is jealous of her coworkers who have a substantial other. Ehrenreich’s American Dream consisted of intangibles: happiness, comfort, well being positive aspects, and excellent working situations. Even so, soon after her rude awakening, Ehrenreich established that it is not possible to attain the American Dream due to the fact of the horrid reality of the life of a working class individual.

According to Shepard, the American Dream is attainable for every single American who puts his or her mindset in a positive light. Shepard attempts to bring the rags-to-fancier-rags tale to life in order to make his argument most compelling. His robust function ethic, excellent well being, favorable character, and positive attitude led him to his achievement: a furnished apartment, $two,500 in cash, a automobile, and a stable position. By way of his investigation, Scratch Beginnings, Shepard demonstrates to the American physique that an affirmative attitude is all one particular wants and that the American Dream does exist.
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