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Life, Health, Family and American Dream

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Life, Health, Family and American Dream in the “Company Man” and “Serving in Florida”


The American dream is one of the concepts, which have been guiding generations of Americans in their struggle for better life. Throughout a long period of time, the belief prevails that the American dream is available to everyone, who works hard to achieve it. The idea is the outcome of the concept that America is a land of opportunity. Moreover, there are two ways of reaching the dream, which is striking lucky and working hard. However, each approach has its own dark side, which is unfortunately concealed from the public. The negative outcome of the first one is gambling-related diseases and situations, when people lose everything they have in the attempts of gaining immediate financial success. However, the current paper discusses the second way, which entails extremely hard work and its threats for an individual as well as the society. Numerous writers dedicated their works to discussing the issues of hard work. The paper refers to the Company Man by Goodman and Serving in Florida by Ehrenreich to describe the American dream. Both artworks have reference to and a vivid demonstration of the drawbacks of a controversial way of life, which leads to many critical outcomes, sometimes even lethal. Thus, the concept of the American dream turned out to be a trap for millions of Americans and immigrants, who aspire for a better life, but ruin own health, families and life instead.

Life, Health, Family and American Dream

The discussed works by Goodman and Ehrenreich demonstrate that the concept of the American dream is a dream of heaven, which does not justify the hell created by people out of their lives. Thus, Goodman in The Company Man presents the causes and outcomes of a death of a middle-aged worker in an average company. Phil was a man aged 51, who was characterized as a typical workaholic. The author indicates that the job took all Phils time because he had no other interest instead of working. Even when he was outside of office, his thoughts were returning there (Goodman, 1980). The medical reason for his death was a coronary thrombosis, but his colleagues and the family knew that in reality his work killed him. His only day-off was Sunday, which also revolved around ideas about the job. Thus, his obsession with job finally led him to the grave. The author indicates that Phil worked like the Important People, which means that he valued his work because it highlighted his status of a vice-president. However, the established way of live is not merciful to anyone as hard work and no rest severely damages health. The facts enlisted by Goodman demonstrate that Phil worked till late night and was overweight by approximately 20-25 pounds (Goodman, 1980). Thus, it is evident that Phil had no time to devote to his own health, which had the most negative impact on his well-being and caused death.

Moreover, Phil had a wife and three children, who rarely saw him and missed his presence in their lives. Thus, his wife has been missing him all these years (Goodman, 1980) and trying to care for him at the minutes of his presence. However, the husband was not focused on wife and family, because he sacrificed them for his job. Initially, the author says that Phils wife attempted assisting him to manage his work loads. Nevertheless, the duties have always been excessive and impossible to manage even by two individuals. As a result, she gave up the idea to help and got used to the fact that she sees no husband most of the time. It is not a surprise that the employer is said to care for her and the children as respectful organizations do. However, the author presents the remark sarcastically indicating that the companies trade people from their families for money. First, the companies lease the workers in the way they did with Phil, and afterward they pay compensations for a dead person. The situation is pessimistic and even cynic, but the law of the concrete jungle is that a person may trade his life aspiring for the American dream. Moreover, the enclosing chapter of Goodmans writing states that the companies act like conveyors hiring Type A heart attack naturals. The business world gradually makes people overweight, nervous, and leads to death. Thus, Goodman vainly depicts a perspective of a hard-worker in America. The individuals do not notice the destruction of their health, well-being, families and lives because they frantically aspire for success. Instead, the success runs them down as a road roller while building a false road to the American dream.

Another writing Serving in Florida by Ehrenreich demonstrates the hell on Earth instead of the American dream for immigrants and the representatives of a low-class society. Presented from a position of a waiter and housekeeper, the book gives a comprehensive picture of a messy world of dirt and hypocrisy, which arises in front of the arriving individuals. Thus, the author gradually introduces a wide range of peoples images, who are immigrants working as waiters and housekeepers at a hotel. Without any doubt, they came to the US aiming for the American dream. Moreover, they are ready to face the difficulties and overcome them. The only reason why they fail is that they initially were guided by misconceptions. The assumption explains that they had not been told about limited perspectives in the US without a proper education and money. As a result, they face the situation, which may be characterized as an enclosed hamster wheel, where they constantly ran attempting to get financial stability. However, their stability is rather weak and expensive because of the toughness of everyday situations at work. For example, a typical condition for them is when they work for six to eight hours in a row and never sit except for pee (Ehrenreich, 2001). Moreover, the author mentions the cause for the created situation, which is the Industrial Revolution that led to the fact that people have to zip through it.

Furthermore, Ehrenreich demonstrates the typical examples of workplace situations, which contribute to the formation of the mentioned hell on Earth for the representatives of low-class society. In order to cover a wide specter of cases, she discusses different individuals, who are likely to be illegal poorly educated employees. As a result, the reader gets familiar with the situation when an immigrant used the assistance of a native speaker to learn English, because without the language knowledge he is a social outcast. For example, a Czech dishwasher George was falsely accused of stealing food at the workplace, and there was no person to protect him. Another aspect depicted by the author is the dangerous position of illegal workers, who were disrespectfully treated by the clients of the hotel. The book demonstrates the controversy of the American society, which is the usage of irony and sarcasm. For instance, Ehrenreich depicts the class of Visible Christians, who are individuals wearing T-shirts with crucifixion or the words referring to Jesus. Despite the fact that their T-shirts may claim that they protect Christian values, among which is understanding, compassion and the will to help people, the individuals are annoying and disrespectful. Thus, a typical behavior of such person is complaining about the quality of food; and when the servant kindly meets every demand he or she is left with no tips. Moreover, some of the workers share several duties or combine a couple of jobs, which ruin their private life and health. Likewise, some of the employees live in a van, whereas the others do everything they can to save their unstable position because they are practically homeless. Therefore, the characterized works by Goodman and Ehrenreich give a comprehensive picture of the controversy of life in the US. As a result, the literary works suggest that the American dream is a misleading concept, which turns millions of people into hardworking robots by taking their family life, health and even life.


The paper concludes that the writings by Goodman and Ehrenreich demonstrate the misleading concept of the American dream. Thus, instead of becoming rich and successful, millions of people deliberately turn their lives into hell on Earth aspiring for material stability. For instance, The Family Man presents a story of a person, who died because of overwork. The job left the family without a husband and father. The employer company has a considerable interest in such hardworking individuals and is ready to substitute him by another human material almost immediately. Moreover, Serving in Florida discusses the life of the representatives of a low-class society, who are bound helpless in their struggle for financial stability. Thus, they work for hours without rest, get small wages and are disrespectfully treated by their bosses and clients. Consequently, Goodman and Ehrenreich demonstrate the injustice of the society, where people trade their well-being, families and lives for the sake of monetary benefits.

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