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The American Dream - Movie Review

Essay by   •  August 29, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  979 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,401 Views

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American Dream

Set against the backdrop of a disillusioned and poverty stricken nation The America Dream sought to rectify the financial and social upheaval caused by the great depression of 1929. Advocated as an ideal which promising prosperity and wealth to all who persevered and worked hard notwithstanding ethnicity, social background or religious belief, the American Dream is a fluctuating myth which adapts itself to suit the values of its' context.

Sylvia Plath and Sam Mendes both commentate on the entrapment in social roles and stereotypes for both men and women as a result of the American Dream in "The Applicant" and "American Beauty".

Written in 1962, the male and female characters in the "Applicant" are trying to attain the perfect American Dream by conforming to the social norm of marriage. The anonymity of the characters and the condescending and demanding tone of the persona However in pursuit of fulfilling society's - both lose their individuality and become anonymous, condescending and demanding tone

"marriage is just a show a commercial for how normal we are"

In Lester's erotic vision of Angela cheerleading she is typified as a "femme fatale" through the camera's focus on her body parts, the cutting and repetition of Angela's movements and the provocative percussion track which accentuate her sensuality. Plath

The sales pitch feel of the poem, created through advertising jargon represents the mass commercialisation of America, an offset of a capitalist society. Plath reflects this through the image of the "black and stiff" suit which symbolises the typical post-war company man who like Lester has lost his sense of individual purpose within capitalist organisations.

Although Lester later frees himself from the entrapment of society initially his "sedated" self is petrified at the notion of losing his job. Initially Lester believes his occupation defines him, in the scene where Brad Dupree informs Lester of the cutback of jobs, Lester's powerlessness is epitomised by his solitary positioning in the foreground of the frame. The monochromatic colour scheme and the use of the high angle shot convey Lester's helplessness and disposability for consumerist society.

The characterisation of lesser burnam and caroline burname make us privy to the strict gender distinctions the American dream makes.

Caroline's duty to cook the meals regardless of her good job reflects the angel of the house ideal set in the 1700s -

However to achieve such ----------- goals the American dream became bounded by stringent rules and regulations. It moves into an ugly national ethos unexcepting of differences and stripped in its gender stereotypes. The power hungriness that the American dream translated into the dysfunctionality and breakdown of relationships.

Her occupation as a real estate agent is symbolic of her attachment to the materialistic goods. The in scene - Caroline's jerky movement couples with the camera cutting convey her obsession with success by trying to sell the house. The harshness of the American dream manifests itself in Caroline's breakdown after being unable to



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