The American Dream is the dream of living life to the fullest even if it means taking stupid chances to learn from them. In addition, it means to try keeping a good family atmosphere in the house. In both Raisin in the Sun and Mildred Pierce, these and other ideas of an ” American Dream” are being displayed in many occasions. In the two books, a central idea is kept of living life to the fullest. In Raisin in the Sun, Beneath a displays this by trying new things and styles.
One example of this is the way she switches from horseback riding to guitar lessons, ” Madeline… guitar lessons today… .” (1. 1. 47).
Also she shows her interest in the history of her native roots and with the help of Joseph Assagai she wants to find this by going to Africa with him, “Nigeria.
Home… show you our mountains… stars… give you cool drinks… and teach you the old songs… .” (2.
In Mildred Pierce, Veda, the daughter of Bert and Mildred, is a little different. At the beginning, she displays her taste for life by playing the piano; ” I learned a new piece today… Valse Brillionte” mentioned in the beginning by Veda.
Later she looks for happiness in money, expensive things, and in parties. Mr. Beragon shows this all to her by going with her on long evenings, to games of polo, and many other fancy things. Veda presents this in the following lines: “Monte had shown me the finer things in life… .” There are two other examples of two people who try to live their life to the fullest.
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They are Walter Younger from Raisin in the Sun and Mildred Pierce Beragon from Mildred Pierce. Both of the characters show their way of living their life to the fullest, but the only way to succeed is to make mistakes and learn from them. In Raisin, Walter wants to live life the fullest by going into the liquor store business with Bobo and Willy. He thinks that this will make him a lot of money so that he can buy pearls for his wife and work in an office. He also wants to hand down the world to his son as soon as he turns seventeen years old, as mentioned here “You can just name it… and I hand you the world…
.” (2. 2. 109).
When his plan fails, he tries to do everything he can to help the family in their financial state, even if it means selling the house his mother had bought. In Mildred Pierce, the same thing happens, but with different results.
Mildred ties to live to the fullest by fulfilling her dream to own a restaurant, which she mentions here: “I’m planning on opening a place of my own. There is money in a restaurant if it is run right.” She succeeds in creating a restaurant that flourishes and makes a lot of money. Later she opens more and more restaurants creating a whole chain of fast food restaurants. Moreover, this keeps her dream and life goings, but there are still different obstacles in the way. The two stories show many things that are done to hold the family together as well as having a good atmosphere in the house. In the Raisin in the Sun, Mama tries to display this in the best way that she can by buying a house for her family.
She does this, because she sees her family fall apart in front of her eyes, “I-I just seen my family falling apart today… .” (2. 1. 94).
At the beginning, the whole family enjoys the idea except for Walter, because he needs that money to make a down payment on the business that he wants to start with Willy and Bobo. At the end of the story, even Walter understands what his mother was tying to do and how important it was to make that choice.
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In Mildred Pierce, the same kind of example is proposed and has very different results. Mildred during her whole life has spent trying to give everything she possibly could to make her children feel special. Her husbands objects to it and leaves her. This is because Mildred buys Veda a dress and Bert tells her of like this: “Go ahead, keep it up. Maybe you would not have so many bills if you did not try to bring up those kids like their old man was a millionaire. No wonder they are so fresh and stuck up.” She does not realize it yet that her own daughter only wants money from her.
Later in the story, she finds this out when Veda tells her that with the ten thousand dollar check she will be able to do anything, as she mentions it here: “With this money, I can get away from you.” In contrast with Mama, Mildred tries to buy love instead of really giving it. ” I just seen my family falling apart today… just falling to pieces in front of my eyes… .” (2. 1. 94) This quote presented in the A Raisin in the Sun encapsulates the thesis on the American Dream about the family and that everyone will most likely try to do anything to keep it together.
A Raisin in the Sun presents a more optimistic view of the Dream, because it ends with the family starting in a new place with a new set of dreams that will have to be realized and worked on later. At the end of Mildred Pierce it is a kind of a down fall for the mother, because she ends up protecting her daughter and her daughter can’t be helped at this point and is caught and taken to jail. All that Mildred had worked for had practically perished when she realizes what her daughter had become.