American Dream Quotes

Quotes tagged as "american-dream" Showing 1-30 of 194
Ronald Wright
“John Steinbeck once said that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress

Hunter S. Thompson
“Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.”
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Alan Moore
Nite Owl II: But the country's disintegrating. What's happened to America? What's happened to the American dream?

The Comedian: It came true. You're lookin' at it.”
Alan Moore, Watchmen

George Monbiot
“If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.”
George Monbiot

Malcolm X
“And when I speak, I don't speak as a Democrat. Or a Republican. Nor an American. I speak as a victim of America's so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy - all we've seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don't see any American dream. We've experienced only the American nightmare.”
Malcolm X

George Carlin
“You're just another american who is willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick being shoved up your asshole every day... The owners of this country know the truth... it's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it!”
George Carlin

David Foster Wallace
“The assumption that you everyone else is like you. That you are the world. The disease of consumer capitalism. The complacent solipsism.”
David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

Howard Zinn
“I've always resented the smug statements of politicians, media commentators, corporate executives who talked of how, in America, if you worked hard you would become rich. The meaning of that was if you were poor it was because you hadn't worked hard enough. I knew this was a lie, about my father and millions of others, men and women who worked harder than anyone, harder than financiers and politicians, harder than anybody if you accept that when you work at an unpleasant job that makes it very hard work indeed.”
Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“Many years ago I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts us absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many lifeless bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

James Baldwin
“People are continually pointing out to me the wretchedness of white people in order to console me for the wretchedness of blacks. But an itemized account of the American failure does not console me and it should not console anyone else. That hundreds of thousands of white people are living, in effect, no better than the "niggers" is not a fact to be regarded with complacency. The social and moral bankruptcy suggested by this fact is of the bitterest, most terrifying kind.”
James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name

William S. Burroughs
“America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers.”
William S. Burroughs

Andre Dubus III
“Dat's what they say of this cauntry back home, Kath: 'America, the land of milk and honey.' Bot they never tell you the milk's gone sour and the honey's stolen.”
Andre Dubus III, House of Sand and Fog

Herman Melville
“I say, I can not identify that thing which is called happiness, that thing whose token is a laugh, or a smile, or a silent serenity on the lip. I may have been happy, but it is not in my conscious memory now. Nor do I feel a longing for it, as though I had never had it; my spirit seeks different food from happiness, for I think I have a suspicion of what it is. I have suffered wretchedness, but not because of the absence of happiness, and without praying for happiness. I pray for peace -- for motionlessness -- for the feeling of myself, as of some plant, absorbing life without seeking it, and existing without individual sensation. I feel that there can be no perfect peace in individualness. Therefore, I hope one day to feel myself drank up into the pervading spirit animating all things. I feel I am an exile here. I still go straying.”
Herman Melville, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“I live in a house over there on the Island, and in that house there is a man waiting for me. When he drove up at the door I drove out of the dock because he says I’m his ideal.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winter Dreams

Nathanael West
“...all these things were part of the business of dreams. He had learned not to laugh at the advertisements offering to teach writing, cartooning, engineering, to add inches to the biceps and to develop the bust”
Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts and A Cool Million

Colum McCann
“Harry had worked his way through the American Dream and come to the conclusion that is was composed of a good lunch and a deep red wine that could soar.”
Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin

Philip Roth
“The disruption of the anticipated American future that was simply to have unrolled out of the solid American past, out of each generation’s getting smartersmarter for knowing the inadequacies and limitations of the generations beforeout of each new generation’s breaking away from the parochialism a little further, out of the desire to go the limit in America with your rights, forming yourself as an ideal person who gets rid of the traditional Jewish habits and attitudes, who frees himself of the pre-America insecurities and the old, constraining obsessions so as to live unapologetically as an equal among equals.”
Philip Roth, American Pastoral

Barack Obama
“I thought the country I'd just described to them - a hopeful, generous, courageous America, an America that was open to everyone. At about the same age as the graduates were now, I'd seized on that idea and clung to it for dear life. For their sake more than mine, I badly wanted it to be true.”
Barack Obama, A Promised Land

Viet Thanh Nguyen
“The American Way of Life! Eat too much, work too much, buy too much, read too little, think even less, and die in poverty and insecurity. No, thank you. Don't you see that's how Americans take over the world? Not just through their army and their CIA and their World Bank., but through this infectious disease called the American Dream?”
Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Committed

James Baldwin
“Privately, we cannot stand our lives and dare not examine them; domestically, we take no responsibility for (and no pride in) what goes on in our country; and internationally, for millions of people, we are an unmitigated disaster.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Abhijit Naskar
“America was built by refugees, and as such, if this land can't be a refuge for the subjugated and persecuted, then it is an insult on our very existence as the great land of the free and brave.”
Abhijit Naskar, The Shape of A Human: Our America Their America

Zhanna Slor
“My parents were really into the whole “American Dream” thing when I was growing up. They didn’t know that by the time we could attain it, the American Dream had morphed into something else entirely, and no one could pinpoint what it was anymore. But maybe that was the whole point. In America, the dream is whatever you think it is.”
Zhanna Slor, At the End of the World, Turn Left

“Europe became what America was supposed to be.

All of America's failed capitalist ideals are a reality in today's "socialist" Europe.”
Oliver Markus Malloy, Apocalypse 2020: How Putin Destroyed America

Abhijit Naskar
“What America explores today, the world explores a decade later.”
Abhijit Naskar, The Shape of A Human: Our America Their America

Viet Thanh Nguyen
“The American Dream was so simple and so optimistic that it required no psychoanalysis, no deep sea-diving. It was as shallow, boring, and sentimental as a bad television show that had somehow become a hit.”
Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Committed

Robert E. Sherwood
“There is a persistent theory, held by those who prate most steadily about "the American way of life" that the average American is a rugged individualist to whom the whole conception of "leadership" is something foreign and distasteful—and this theory would certainly seem to be in accord with our national tradition of lawlessness and disrespect for authority. But it is not entirely consistent with the facts. We Americans are inveterate hero worshipers, to a far greater extent than are the British and the French. We like to personalize our loyalties, our causes. In our political or business or labor organizations, we are comforted by the knowledge that at the top is a Big Boss whom we are free to revere or to hate and upon whom we can depend for quick decisions when the going gets tough. The same is true of our Boy Scout troops and our criminal gangs. It is most conspicuously true of our passion for competitive sport. We are trained from childhood to look to the coach for authority in emergencies. The masterminding coach who can send in substitutes with instructions whenever he feels like it—or even send in an entirely new team—is a purely American phenomenon. In British football the team must play through the game with the same eleven men with which it started and with no orders from the sidelines; if a man is injured and forced to leave the field the team goes on playing with only ten men. In British sport, there are no Knute Rocknes or Connie Macks, whereas in American sport the mastermind is considered as an essential in the relentless pursuit of superiority.”
Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History

Abhijit Naskar
“The founders of America were more criminal than modern immigrants – you know why – because the founders of America didn’t only enter this land illegally, but after entering they drove the natives out of their own home, whereas all that the immigrants of today want is to have a better life for their family. Now tell me – who are the real criminals?”
Abhijit Naskar, Generation Corazon: Nationalism is Terrorism

“The truth is, I do have a chance to fight for something in the place I came from. Something akin to what I continue to fight and hope for in America. Something bigger than myself. And yet, I stay. It's a decision I continue to make, one that continues to haunt me. And even if it is a choice, there's no weight in it. It's meaningless apart from selfish intent.”
Trisha Low, Socialist Realism

John Updike
“American dream: when he first heard the phrase as a kid he pictured God lying sleeping, the quilt-colored map of the U.S. coming out of his head like a cloud.”
John Updike, Rabbit Redux

Tom Robbins
“In Europe my family left their toes, but to Ellis Island they brought a dream. The old American dream. Work hard, save your money, be decent, and success you're bound to have. A business of your own. A house. Nice food on the table, carpets, curtains. Maybe two weeks in December in Miami Beach. Only if you're my family you swim with your slippers on. Okay. I grew up with that dream. But these artists you're describing, the self-promoting crybabies what are intentionally being scholckmeisters and gonifs, they dream the new American dream. And the new one is to achieve wealth and recognition without having the burden of intelligence, talent, sacrifice, or the human values what are universal.”
Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

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