Representation Of The American Dream In The Film Pursuit Of Happiness

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The movie “Pursuit of Happiness” features as a biographical Hollywood movie, which debuted in 2006. The setting of the film is San Francisco, in the year 1981. The film depicts the life of Christopher Gardner, who succumbs to a series of struggles, and life challenges in pursuit of fending for his family. Chris, who is the protagonist, is showcased as a hardworking person that sacrifices a lot for his family, but his efforts cannot commensurate with his challenges, because of societal inequality. Chris is an example of various Americans leaving the American dream. As will be discussed in the paper, Christopher Gardner in the film “Pursuit of Happiness,” undergoes several barriers to achieving his happiness, and liberty among other things. His traits are congruent with the American dream, where family values and perseverance are key aspects in achieving the dream.

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The movie “Pursuit of Happiness” featuring Will Smith as Christopher Gardner is a true story film of a single father that managed to beat the odds of poverty and become an affluent man. The movie is a film of hope and one where a complex definition of the word hope is determined. Gardner succumbs to various life troubles such as being homeless, and living is despair, to a point that his wife abandoned him with their child, and went ahead to seek greener pastures. There was a particularly disturbing scene in the movie where Gardner and the son accommodated themselves in a bathroom stall in the subway. They used newspapers to cover themselves and shield from the cold. This scene also portrays the father who is crying and the son who sits there in an attempt to get the very much needed rest. Fortunately, Gardner manages to seize a promotional opportunity, where he proves himself and manages to finally become a successful businessperson of the business he engaged in at the time. The storyline is generally a rag to riches story, which depicts the true meaning of the American dream.

One of the biggest aspects of the American Dream is to never give up, and work with what one has at the time. Chris did not have much to offer the world apart from his bone scanners. One time, when selling his scanners, he comes across Dean Witter, who is impressed by his Rubix cube skills, and invites him to his company for an interview as an intern stockbroker. Before his interview with Dean, Chris gets arrested for the unpaid tickets and spends a night in jail. On the day of his release, he gets torn between attending the interview, and not showing up at all. He finally decides to show up in a wife-beater and a pair of sweatpants. On a normal occasion, the employers would not consider his shaggy look and even throw him out of their premises. However, Chris manages to impress his potential employer, and they get past his appearance. The American dream advises people to always rise to the challenges they face, no matter the circumstances. Gardner did not let his jail experience the previous day deter him from seizing the lifetime opportunity he was offered. He was able to present himself with much strength and candidacy, and his zealousness paid off. Giving up is not an option in the American dream, and Gardner proved himself as a true believer of the American Dream.

Another major aspect of the American Dream is the ability to create equal opportunities for oneself, despite the level of inequality one experiences. Gardner was a victim of inequality because of his race, and other major things, which deter the American dream. His wife even abandoned him at the time of his need, but then he still managed to push in with life. There is a very disturbing film where Gardner and his son struggle to find a place to spend the night and are forced to sleep in a subway bathroom stall. However, despite these struggles, Gardner makes sure that he can create a wonderful illusion at work that he is just like the other interns. He does not act like a destitute, and at one point, he even had to lend out $5 to one of his coworkers, just so to maintain the illusion. He has to run from work every day just so to secure a sleeping environment for both his son and him. Gardner proves that perception is the most important aspect of achieving success. Gardner managed to maintain better sales calls at work, despite his disadvantages. He was extremely determined to make it in life and beat the inequality which pulled him down. There was an episode where we could see Gardner going against the company’s protocols when he managed to gain access to high-profile clients. He decided to set an equal opportunity for himself, despite his major disadvantages, which acted as setbacks for him.

In conclusion, the film “Pursuit of Happiness” is a true representation of the American Dream. The American Dream proposes that people should never give up, and work to create opportunities for themselves despite their circumstances. Christopher Gardner was a true depiction of the American Dream. He managed to create a successful future for himself and the son, out of his determination, and perseverance. He recreated the story of inequality, to equality through changing his perceptions and working towards a brighter future for himself.

Works Cited

  1. Alvianty, Nur, Nierma Yuniar, and M. Muamaroh. An Analysis Subtitling Strategy of Interrogative Sentence Used in The Pursuit of Happyness Movie. Diss. Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta, 2017.
  2. Graham, Carol. Happiness for all? Unequal hopes and lives in pursuit of the American Dream. Princeton University Press, 2017.
  3. Mukherjee, Aparajita. ‘The American Dream of The Godfather: The Life and Times of Don Vito Corleone.’ Cultural Spaces (2018): 103.
  4. Ruo-jun, B. A. O. ‘On Chris’s Unyielding Spirits Against Fate in The Pursuit of Happyness.’ Journal of Literature and Art Studies 6.8 (2016): 905-910.
14 May 2021

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