Scratch Beginnings

The Abidance of an American Dream in Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Serving in Florida” and Adam Shepard’s Scratch Beginnings College

A national ethos of the United States, the American Dream, is the ideal that all U.S. citizens should have an equal opportunity to achieve prosperity and success through persistence, determination, and hard work. There are countless stories, nonfiction and fiction, that shape the American Dream today. However, due to unequal opportunities and lack of education, some Americans are left hopeless and stuck in low-wage jobs and poverty. After her experience of living as a low class worker, Barbara Ehrenreich attempts to establish that it is most likely that low-wage workers will remain in minimum wage jobs and that the American Dream is unattainable in her experiment, “Serving in Florida.” However, Adam Shepard rebukes Ehrenreich’s assertion through his inquiry, Scratch Beginnings, where he starts from the bottom and strives to achieve his goals. Shepard attempts to change most Americans’ pessimism regarding the American Dream through his belief that a positive mindset can lead to success. Between the two works, Shepard’s use of ethos makes his argument more persuasive in the idea that the American Dream is achievable for anyone.

In pursuance of bringing the American Dream to life, Shepard brings the story of “rags-to-fancier-rags”...

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