English Final Project

The American Dream Through the Ages

By: Brody Mistrot

Artist Statement:

I used the fourth enduring understanding, Social and historical forces influenced the development of American literature, to guide the development of my project. The largest factor that influences American literature is the American Dream. What the perceived American Dream is both during the time the author is writing and the time the author is writing about changes the author’s frame of mind and the context of their work. My goal was to show the American Dream in the time periods of the novels we read this year.

The first image is from the 1920’s, from the time period of The Great Gatsby. In it, I show Gatsby’s mansion with a party in progress. The man in the frame is wearing a high-end suit and the woman is in a party dress typical of 1920’s flapper women. It is the level of wealth and opulence that was the American Dream in this time. Everyone wanted to be at a level in society where they would be invited to parties of such an ilk.

The second image is from the 1950’s, from the time period of The Catcher in the Rye and Death of a Salesman. The picture is from 1950’s suburbia. There is a businessman in a nice suit, a housewife who is waiting for her husband to come home, the car parked on the street, and a dog waiting in the yard. The American Dream at this time was more focused on the domestic.

The last image in of the American Dream today. Both the husband and wife are successful business people, they live in a big, beautiful house, and drive luxury cars. Right now, to have the American Dream, you have to have the career, the partner, the house, and the car; you have to have everything.