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The American Dream: Good Will Hunting

Autor:   •  December 5, 2017  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,500 Words (6 Pages)  •  96 Views

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The American Dream: Good Will Hunting

The term American Dream has been around since before America was even discovered. There are many different views and beliefs on what constitutes the American Dream, and if it is even something that can be accomplished by the average American. Since the idea of the American Dream is so important to the foundation and culture of America, it is heavily portrayed in the entertainment industry. The industry typically depicts the American Dream in two ways, “rags-to-riches” and “money can’t buy happiness”. Many Americans believe that the American dream, is just that a dream an unattainable one at that, but the film Good Will Hunting shows that no matter where you come from the American Dream can be achieved. Good Will Hunting shows that no matter where you come from the American Dream can be achieved by following the struggles of a troubled youth, Will Hunting, and his road to reaching his “American Dream.”

The idea of the “American Dream” was developed before America was discovered, but it since has been analyzed and depicted in the entertainment industry multiple times (Pileggio et al ,2000).  There is evidence that concept of the American Dream was presented in the Declaration of Independence and talked about by the originals settlers, but the term was first coined in 1931 by historian James Adams (Michels).  According to an article by Michels, there is no set definition for what the American Dream is, its typically thought about as a person being able to become wealthy and achieve all their dreams of starting from the bottom and working their way up to a better position in society.  Another view is people being able to live a simple life, practicing their faith, and be at liberty to live a life full of peace and equality. Since theses are the common views of what the American Dream is, some can be criticized for their view or take on the american dream (Sirota, 2008), when it does not align with the common views. All of these concepts are touched on in the movie Good Will Hunting. 

Good Will Hunting is typical depiction of the achievement of the American Dream. David Ansen provides a summary of the film, and its portrayal of the American Dream. Good Will Hunting follows the path of a troubled youth, Will Hunting. He was abused as a child and has since been on a course that involves frequent run ins with the law, underage drinking in his free time with his friends (Chuckie, Billy, and Morgan), working as a janitor at MIT, although he is a math genius. While at MIT working he solves a math problem that puts him on the professor's , Lambeau, radar. When Will is arrested later on in the movie, Lambeau helps Will stay out  of jail by setting up meetings with a therapist, eventually settling on Sean Maguire, and him having him go on job interviews while receiving tutoring from him. During this time he also develops a relationship with a woman named Skylar, who also makes him question his current situation. This is the start of his attempt to achieve the American Dream that he didn't know he had.


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