James J. Rawls gives his version of the California dream, and describes the paradoxes that are associated with that dream. According to Rawls, the California dream is a love affair with an idea, a marriage to a myth, or fantasy. Everyone has their own version of the California dream. It might be something, or nothing at all. As I began reading Rawl’s essay, I found it interesting how the world views the environment that you live in, and how different they think your life is from theirs.
The California dream is often viewed in the imaginations of Americans and immigrants as the optimal land of opportunity, sunshine, jobs, and Hollywood glamour. “Founded on expectation and hope, the California Dream promises to fulfill our deepest longings for opportunity and success, warmth, sunshine and beauty, health and long life, freedom, and even a foretaste of the future,” says Rawls. For many people, they think of California as their own perfect world. According to Rawls, one paradox for California is a land of great expectations and disappointment.
The gold rush experience was forged on this paradox of expectation. For many people their expectations of California came from what they heard: California is the land of great opportunity. Another paradox is growth. In 1962, California became the most populous state. Land was being quickly developed into track homes, and twisted freeways. By 1973, cities across the state 1. were passing ordinances to limit growth. The land of dreams and opportunities was quickly turning into a land of nightmares.
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The paradox of plenty and getting rich is what immigrants and people from other parts of America believed California was all about, and part of the California dream. Many argue that the dream that once was is no longer a reality with all of the social, political, and environmental issues. This morning I read a blurb on the internet that named the ten most expensive cities in the United States to live in were located in California: Palo Alto, San Francisco, Pasadena, and Newport Beach were a few of those named.
I have often read about the American dream, but not the California dream. Being a native Californian, perhaps I have taken for granted all that California has to offer, as it just seems part of my every day life. I could never understand why my in-laws would always say how lucky I was to live in California, and so close to the beach. Why did they make such a big deal when they visited? There were beaches in New Jersey where they were from. They always insisted on going to Santa Cruz or Monterey each time they came to visit.
They live three hours away from the beach, or shore as they called it. Until I visited the east coast, little did I realize at the time how living on the east coast was very different from living on the west coast. It is hot and humid during the summer, and cold and wet during the winter. At least in the bay area the seasons are not so drastic. I do not believe there is a California dream. I have always felt that people make their own dreams. For some it is the roll of the dice, and luck. For others it is the way things were meant to be. Promise and paradox are at the center of the California dream”. “In spite of the withering analysis of the past, the promises of California remain undiminished, bringing new generations of newcomers from around the world”. There are new perceptions and new dreams. Everyone dreams. Whether it is a life in a different place – or where they currently live people have been dreaming since the beginning of time - and will continue to dream. What one perceives as the California dream, another may perceive it as something entirely different.
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