Resurrecting Dreams

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"He says the Russians have always had more ideas than any other people in history and ended in the pit. The Americans have no ideas and they have one success after another. I am trying to have no ideas". -Resurrection Blues p. 2


This statement by Jeanine in the Prologue reminded me of the topic I am currently writing about in relation to The Skin of Our Teeth. I was able to conclude from that play that the American Dream is not really about success and achievement; it is about the acceptance of flaws and the willingness to show the world imperfection. I was drawn to the character of Jeanine because I feel she fits perfectly with this theme. While she may not have been trying to fulfill an "American" dream, she seems very accepting of the fact that she is not perfect. By jumping from a window she shows this - then she accepts it and learns to embrace the new outlook on her life she now has. The statement her father told her also shows that Americans may not have all the best ideas, they may not be the brightest or the most advanced in all fields - but the population accepts that fact. They use mistakes as an opportunity to learn. The imperfections of everyday people let them be successful in life.


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Alicia Campbell said:

I appreciate your interpretation of this quote (and the topic of your paper) because I have trouble considering things to be anything other than what they seem,as is the case with the American Dream really being about failure. And if you think about it, many great advancements have come about accidentally. Perfection is merely too high of a standard. All of us would be trying to jump out of window if this were the actual goal in life, because it is unattainable. Another quote that illustrates the point you are trying to make that comes to mind is "sometimes things fall apart, so better things can fall together."

Christopher Dufalla said:

This is a very intriguing perspective. When someone mentions the American Dream, I immediately think of a small suburban house, white picket fence, stay-at-home mom, two kids, and a dog (the Cleaver family, perhaps). Miller does put an interesting thought into the audiences brain, though: other nations have tried to be much more dynamic in their goals and have failed, where America has been simple and easy-going. Perhaps the idea of accepting that life has failures has made the American Dream much more down-to-earth and easier to accept.

Rosalind Blair said:

I agree with both of your interpretations. The idea of the American Dream not being about perfection is something I find very interesting. I think that in order to have success, you have to embrace the flaws that come with reaching perfection.

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