The Pursuit Of The American Dream In Typical American, By Gish Jen

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“Typical American”, by Gish Jen, has many themes, ranging from the paradox of freedom and limits to the assimilation of a race of immigrants. One of the major themes in the book is the pursuit of the American Dream. All immigrants who come to the USA have this pursuit in mind when they first set foot in New York or San Francisco. They have dreams of what America will be to them and what they will become in this land of opportunity. The American dream allows someone to make themselves into whoever they want to be and to live the life they’ve always wanted. “[Ralph] lay waiting to see what happened. Anything could happen, this was America. He gave himself up to the country and dreamt.” (Pg. 42) What they don’t realize is that the pursuit doesn’t …show more content…
Grover is rich, has skills with women, a huge house with servants, and he’s a wild and crazy bachelor. Ralph is a quieter, mildly successful husband with a wife and two kids and a house in the suburbs. They have one thing in common, and that’s the pursuit of the American dream. The pursuit has a lot to do with money and material possessions, but it also has to do with having someone to come home to that cares for you and also the chance to propagate your lineage so you can keep your seed in the country that you decided to adopt as your home. Each has pursued the American dream and each has succeeded, but each has also failed. Ralph has the family life and Grover has the material wealth, but neither man has both, and each is somewhat …show more content…
He had achieved great material gain through his many investments and shady dealings, such as tax evasion. His outside appearance was one of contentment, but he had no family and no one to share his wealth with on a long-term basis. Sure he had fun one night flings with waitresses, but they soon forgot each other. He had no way of passing on his success or his knowledge of how to succeed to his offspring, and when he died, he would be forgotten. He also had failures in his attempts to wreck Ralph, whose family he envied. While he was dealing with Ralph as a business partner, he invaded his home and began seducing his wife, Helen. He started out slowly, hiding behind the disguise of friend and partner, and occupying Ralph with a cash register and the chicken shop’s accounting. He was pleased that he was giving Ralph a raw deal on the shop while buying his house and secretly tearing his family apart. Feeling full of himself, he tried to finally have an affair with Helen, but surprisingly she “stiffed” him and he failed to wreck Ralph’s home life. He had tried to take Ralph’s family from him, but he only succeeded in stealing what he already had, material

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