The American Dream: a study of the contrasting representations in film as a motivational myth or delusional disappointment?

Corcoran, Charlotte Emma Mary (2012) The American Dream: a study of the contrasting representations in film as a motivational myth or delusional disappointment? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation is a study of the American Dream as represented in film. Chapter one looks at the history and theory behind the American Dream that as a notion and symbol influenced a nation. The intention of this chapter is to establish that historically, the theory of the American Dream has changed overtime, and show that not only has the history and theory of the American Dream impacted culture and social ideologies, but it has become the culture, as social ideologies are built around the American Dream lifestyle.
    The dissertation then moves onto the films which support the argument that the American Dream has no clear-cut definition, but is generally perceived to be based on the fact that if you want a better life you can make it happen. The American Dream is still something that American's generally believe in, however whether it an be achieved in practice is debateable. This dissertation how the American Dream is represented in two very different films and asks the question as to which film presents the best American Dream, and which film represents the reality of the American dream in the 21st century.
    Chapter two looks at 'The Pursuit of Happyness' (Muccino, 2006) directed by Gabrielle Muccino, which illustrates a positive perspective, as the film upholds the American Dream as a template for successful living. In contrast, Chapter three portrays a negative perspective of the American Dream in 'American Beauty' (Mendes, 1999) directed by Sam Mendes, which shows the failings and delusions of the American Dream lifestyle.
    By applying American Dream theory to the primary sources, this dissertation aims to show how the American Dream culture has been represented to impact the characters in the contrasting films. Concluding then, that there are contradictions in American culture, in terms of how it lives up to the theory of the American Dream, and exists more as an aspiration, rather than a reality.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2014 16:16
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:32
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/14090

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