At the heart of the American Dream is the idea that prosperity is a reward for hard work. In other words, if we only commit ourselves to being industrious we can succeed in whatever way we aspire to. There has been a long history of ambivalence toward affluence in America, however—with the idea that it corrupts our values and makes us only concerned about material things.
Pick three works from our different exam periods—say “Life in the Iron Mills,” “Babylon Revisited,” and “The Swimmer”—and discuss what these stories say about the effect of money on ideas of sympathy, community, fellow-feeling, spirituality, etc.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: STRONG OPENING THESIS, DEVELOPMENT (500 words), SUPPORT (quotations), OBJECTIVE TONE (No “I” or “we”).