The Image of American Dream in Between the World and Me

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The American dream is the primary goal of most Americans. Being able to succeed in life and having opportunities that allow the achievement of self-selected goals are cherished aspects of the freedom that come with living in America. The reality is not always the outcome we expect or want, however, we continue to strive in pursuit of these ideals. JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, present different views of America’s most problematic issues. Using their stories, the authors show readers their perspectives to help create an understanding of the society and culture in which they grew up. Each author suggests possible solutions for economic and social changes.

In Hillbilly Elegy, Vance struggles to adapt to a new culture when he moves to a big city. He was born and raised in a hillbilly society abounding with poverty, drugs, and low expectations. Moving into a big city allows him to change the direction of his life. Coates, on the other hand, remained where he was born and raised but struggled with racism and the effects racism had on him. For example, when his son Samori was born, from the very beginning Coates was afraid of what his son would be forced to face. Even after all those years, he knew society remains the same as the one in which he grew up.

Vance and his sister were raised mainly by their grandparents, who they called Mamaw and Papaw. Even though Vance lived his early childhood with his father, he learned more from his grandparents. He considered his grandparents his best friends. Coates conversely lived with his parents and in a more stable home where he did not struggle with domestic violence.

Coming from a rural background, Vance accepts the idea he is leaving behind his roots and starting a new path. He graduates from college and then he enlists in the Marines. He leaves the Marines and after one year he graduates from Yale University Law School. Throughout his college time and at the beginning of his law career he tries to adapt to the different social situations in which he finds himself. He struggles to fit into a society in which he is not comfortable. At first, he tries to forget his roots and the place he was raised, but he could not find a way to fit in this new world. Coates also struggles to fit into the society in which he lives but in a different way, Coates’ struggle had to do more with racism and is something he has not been able to overcome throughout his life.

After a while, Vance realizes he does not have to feel ashamed or hide his past so that is when he began acting more like himself. He finally feels accepted in the new world he is in and does not forget the one from which he came. Vance fits in these two types of society. Coates, however, lives with the knowledge he has gained about the realities of crime, poverty, racism, violence, and death. He believes that the American dream is out of reach for most African Americans.

Vance opened himself to the world and what a great idea that was, he found the woman of his dreams, he married her, a law school classmate. At the beginning of their relationship, Vance saw how good she was to him, supporting all his decisions and always reminding him about grades and homework. I do think his wife Usha Chilukuri was one of the people that made him motivate so he could achieve what he achieved, being an incredible lawyer even though he thought he was not, not at all.

Going back to when Vance is a child when things changed with his mom, an unexpected incident happened in the family. His mom went crazy and tried to kill him. The police arrested her, and she went to trial. At first, Vance was going to say what really happened. However, Vance lies on the trail because Mamaw told him to do this. In this part of the story, you can see how much influence Mamaw had over Vance. Mamaw told him to not tell the truth about what happened because that would mean that his mom would go to jail and that could never happen, not as long as Mamaw was alive. She was serious about family stuff, to never turn your back on the family. That was her main focus idea and that was something she told Vance from the time he was a child.

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I feel like Vance’s view, his goal for the future is for a country with no sociopolitical economic problem that the government can leave behind the society so they do not have anything to worry about and just the government be in charge in this type of cases that basically is how to handle a whole country without falling apart. He may a lawyer, but he made a change that does not necessarily involve his major what matter is that in the world, or at least in a good amount of people he did a good change which makes him such an amazing person. Vance a contributor to CNN knew that all the effort it took him to bring him where he currently is was not easy at all, but he made it through and that is admirable about him.

The author of this book at the beginning of the story started pointing out in detail what he did with his life, cause this book is about him, writing down all his life experiences was easier for him, and that is the way he wanted for people to know him, by his book.

This is what I think this book was all about and now I may start recalling and showing the differences between this book, Hillbilly Elegy, and Between the World and Me which is the next thing I’m going to talk about. Between the World and Me was such an extraordinary book that reminds me of some others, and there are some parts that share similarities with Hillbilly Elegy.

Coates is the main character in this story, he is a noble man that also went through a lot of trauma since he was a child, he is proud to be American but also he has been struggling his whole life with racism, he is a black person and there are people what always treat him like trash, so he became a little bit too careful when it comes to defending his son. One phrase that he told his son was “our errors always cost us more” which means that no matter what they do they will always have to pay a bigger price for any mistake they might do.

DJ Vance, in Hillbilly Elegy, advocates for dealing with oneself and one’s own as a responsivity that everybody must-have. Much the same as Coates, DJ Vance comes with scars and injury and is mentally protective. As far as the community is concerned, he has extraordinary love and reliability to an American lifestyle. He, be that as it may, investigates the inadequacies of his locale, however, he can find harmony between affection and analysis. Coates’s announcements associate with DJ Vance’s thoughts on the community in that the two of them esteem their locale and would scrutinize the deficiencies, and they need to be heard from the point of view of the community to which they belong.

I think he felt how tough it’s like to be an African American male with all the racist stuff going on also he realized that the world his son is going to live in has not changed at all from the one he lived in, the racist is something that bothers everybody and for Coates is something that has been chasing him his whole life and now is also something his son has to live with.

Coates used to tell his son that he does not need to be twice as good just to prove to other people how much he is worth, these are encouraging words that show Coates’s son he has to stand up and ensure that he is not exploited to make other people comfortable. Also, Coates knew the consequences of reacting violently toward the white community that is highly protected by the law.

Finally, in ‘Between the World and Me’ Coates’s concept of the American dream is different. Most people would say that if you work hard enough anyone can succeed in America. Coates does not agree with this belief. He feels that the United States was not based on an establishment of opportunity and balance but was developed through the abuse and mistreatment of black people. White people have benefitted from the unequal treatment of black people from the time of slavery until the present. Coates believes that the American dream does not exist without racist injustice, as material flourishing in the US is unavoidably attached to the abuse of African Americans. 

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