Opportunity: The Main Ingredient to the American Dream


Opportunity is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “A good position, chance or prospect for achievement” which can be easily connected to the idea of The American Dream. After all, isn’t America known as “The land of opportunity”? Throughout time, many cultures have migrated to America, and still come for that matter, in search of a better life through hard work and dedication to their particular cause. Throughout history, these people have voyaged to America in search of new lives and new opportunities. Whether it be the Puritans escaping religious persecution, immigrants looking for a better place to live and raise their children, or the poor American lower class always searching for a new “hustle” to make them rich, many are given the chance to achieve the goals they set for themselves in America.


For example, when the Puritans came to America in search of religious freedom, they were given the opportunity to start fresh and practice their faith; most of them cherished this occasion and eventually achieved spiritual fulfillment. Of course, this achievement was not easy; the Puritans demanded more strict doctrines and often fought among themselves in order to agree on such things. Despite this, the main focus was that they were given the opportunity to fulfill their goals and whether they achieved them or not, wasn’t as important as the effort and dedication that they were allowed to put into their cause.


Immediately grasping opportunity when it presents itself is possibly the most vital part to achieving The American Dream. In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the main characters Lenny and George, worked on several farms and plantations in order to achieve more than the generation (Lenny’s Aunt) that came before them. Their main goal in life was to work hard enough to earn enough money to purchase a home with a garden and animals that they could raise and eventually, “live off the fat of the land” by later selling the crops. Though both men came from poor and unfortunate backgrounds, they knew opportunity existed and


success could be achieved through hard work. Unfortunately, George and Lenny did not fulfill their American Dream; but they, and the readers, learned that a better life can always be attained when given the opportunity.


The American Dream cannot be defined clearly because each person has his or her own dream. Some see it as owning a house or becoming a millionaire, while others define it as being able to read or to get a job. Society tends to associate the phrase “American Dream” with the amount of money a person earns or how many possessions they can acquire. The American Dream to others, especially immigrants, is a chance to succeed in a new life. The main aspect is that, Americans are given the freedom to decide what The American Dream means to them and they are given opportunity to pursue it. I do believe that the opportunity to achieve The American Dream, whatever the definition of it may be, is more important than whether it is achieved. The great thing about living in America is that everyone is given the opportunity to do something powerful with their lives, such as achieving greatness within themselves and their community.