english final paper

english final paper - 1 Brittany Rockefeller English...

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1 Brittany Rockefeller English 001-Section 33 Fall 2007 December 10, 2007 Social Mobility in the Film “Good Will Hunting” The idea of social mobility has been a withstanding ideology of the American Dream. Immigrants migrated to our country in pursuit of equal opportunity with the idea that they could attain the fullest stature to which they are innately capable regardless of their birth or upbringing. Thomas Wolfe once said that the American Dream is, “to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity ….the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him"(Library of Congress). Unfortunately, recent studies by sociologists have shown that, in fact, the social gap among the rich and the poor is widening every year. In an effort to preserve the egalitarian ideology, Hollywood manages to bring the classes together and close the social gap among characters. The film “Good Will Hunting” illustrates this mobility within social classes effectively. Inequality is a highly publicized issue in our society. As Kevin Phillips says in "Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich," published last year, the increasing gap between the median American family income and the richest one percent has been "a point of national discussion for over a decade." By the turn of the 21st century, he writes, the United States "had also become the West's citadel of inherited wealth."(James 2). Today’s economy and research on social mobility proves that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing at an unprecedented rate in the United States. Consequentially, it is
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2 becoming increasingly harder to change the class position you are born into. “Some sociologists and economists worry that the “Horatio Alger” dream of economic success through hard work and merit is dead and that getting ahead now depends mostly on your family's affluence, education and social connections”(Greenblatt 1). Princeton economist Alan B. Krueger in a November article in The New York Times commented, “new studies show it takes an average of five or six generations to change a family's economic position, and that wealth tends to linger in families” ( James 1). The reason the American Dream is now beyond reach for so many families is because the price of four critical services has risen much more sharply than wages and the rate of inflation: health care, higher education, high-quality child care, and housing ( Block, Kortweg,Woodard). Today's college-educated workers receive a larger wage premium over their high-school- graduate peers. This is much higher than their predecessors enjoyed twenty-five years ago. If one does not attend college, the likelihood of moving from one income group to another is unfeasible. What about the remaining three-quarters of American adults? They may be out of luck, if you believe the more pessimistic observers. “There's basically no career ladder for people
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english final paper - 1 Brittany Rockefeller English...

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