The American Dream in the Twentieth Century - Research Article from Literary Themes: The American Dream

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The American Dream in the Twentieth Century

Small-town Life

Just after the beginning of the twentieth century, one widely accepted literary vision of the American dream involved life in a small, tightly knit community where residents were free from secrets and ill will. This idealized vision of a perfect American town, far removed from the tumult of the rest of the world, became a symbol for how the United States viewed itself in the larger community of the world. The reality of American small-town life may not have matched this vision very closely, but it was not until just prior to World War I that American writers began to explore this discrepancy in a meaningful way.

Edgar Lee Masters, in his poetry collection Spoon River Anthology (1915), employs an ingenious technique for stripping away the rigid customs and traditions of American small-town life: Each...

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This section contains 2,578 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy The American Dream in the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia Article
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Literary Themes: The American Dream
The American Dream in the Twentieth Century from Literary Themes: The American Dream. ©2008 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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