Unraveling of Tradition

The Cost of the American Dream

What is the Cost of Pursuing a Dream?

The cost of pursuing a dream is tradition. Tradition is the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way. Therefore, while pursuing a dream you must break tradition in order to step out and accomplish it.

The Great Gatsby

In the great Gatsby, Gatsby himself sacrifices tradition from his family in order to achieve his “American Dream.” Gatsby was from a poor background, in which he owned little at all until one day he broke that family tradition striking it rich. Gatsby was a man of tradition because he did attend oxford in which was a “family tradition” (Fitzgerald 65). Gatsby’s family was poor; they were “shiftless and unsuccessful farm people – his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all” however until one day Gatsby joined to help Dan Cody on a boat there where Gatsby learned all about the arts of wealth and status. It is breaking of the family tradition so to say of the poor farmers, and rising into an extremely wealthy individual pursing his dream of a girl. It is through this wealth he would use as a tool of manipulation and breaking away from the poverty escalated his chances of getting the girl, his dream.


Inside Job

The same sacrifice of old ways, imminent in “The Great Gatsby”, are conveyed in the documentary Inside Job, through how these wealthy individuals running the banking system of the us gave out risky loans and sold them off to make immediate profit. Andrew Sheng talked in the movie about financial engineers versus a real engineer stating “Why should a financial engineer be paid four times to 100 times more than a real engineer? A real engineer build bridges. A financial engineer build dreams. And, you know, when those dreams turn out to be nightmares, other people pay for it.” In stating this Sheng talks about dreams. He inquires that these men earned way more than what they should have due to financial gains brought about by them through trashing the tradition of rightfully earned loans and now giving them away to make immediate profit. The narrator talks about this change in tradition by stating “For decades the American financial system was stable and safe. But then something changed.” What changed was the tradition behind honest banking. What in turn happened was a result of the unraveling of tradition in order to pursue immediate wealth and that wealth was a dream upheld by these individuals, who trashed banking tradition in the pursuit of their dream.

Serving in Florida

Barbra Ehrenreich in her book “Serving in Florida” gives up her tradition of being a “Consumer, thoughtlessly throwing money around in exchange for groceries and movies and gas, to being a worker in the very same place” in pursuit of her dream. She wanted to know what it would be like on the other side and she gave up her tradition of being normal to then working for the very people that she was. This alteration shows that she altered her lifestyle and her traditional behavior to pursue a goal.

Capitalism Saved the Miners

Daniel Henninger in his article “Capitalism Saved the Miners” highlights how miners were saved due to their importance because of the harsh times today. Henninger states that “if those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on earth, they would be dead” (Henninger 1). This portrays the break in tradition due to the statement that they would have died without the change in tradition from the old ways to the new. Tradition effected how these individuals were saved and the dream pursued in order to give up the tradition of just letting these miners go is that of saving the economy and the tough times for America.

In Goldman Sachs we Trust

In Goldman Sachs we trust states the massive growths that the company experienced. The growth made by mergers was a break in tradition from the smaller operating firm. It broke away and became extremely wealthy until members pursued their dream of riches too quickly hurting the company and the economy as a whole. Sachs “having issued more than a quarter billion dollars worth of securities in less than a month” portrays the massive gains that the company experienced due to selling of stocks (Sachs 237). This shows the sacrifice of strategic banking into aggressive banking in order to receive immediate gains and wealth to pursue the dream of riches.