Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Scratch Beginnings

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The “American Dream” is only as real as one’s imagination. The Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard gives the reader an opportunity to walk in the shoes of a man working to turn “rags-to-fancier-rags” (p. xvi, Shepard). Within the book lies not only the journey of Adam Shepard, an ordinary man attempting to advance from being homeless to living financially stable, but also the stories of others, whom Shepard met along the way, taking different routes to reach similar goals. Taking place in 2006, it is easy to connect each event, three years later, with today’s economy.

All through the story we are reminded that one’s character impacts his own achievements: A person is only competent to approach such a goal if their heart, passion, and mind are set to their ambitions. One main motto told the reader that to achieve the “American Dream” one must never settle for anything less than what they expect from themselves. This saying was shown in many tasks described within the story: just as Shepard was about to take the job at the carwash, which only paid the minimum, he took some initiative and made a final attempt to persuade Curtis into hiring him at Fast Company.

Another example would be of Derrick, with hard work, dedication, and a little assistance; he was able to succeed in buying a new home. Shepard’s story described the emotional impacts of each achievement and failure. He was not short in telling of each fiasco he encountered and with every let down handed to him, Shepard was still able to look on the bright side in each event. The experiences in Scratch Beginnings hint to the reader that the “American Dream” is not always about hard work but a positive attitude is just as important.

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Some say the current economy is struggling but is it any different from seventy years ago when families immigrated to the United States in search for a better life? Hearing stories of your ancestors: how they came to America, their struggles, starting their families, and by living your life today would you not think your ancestors achieved the “American Dream? ” Over the past couple years statistics have shown that the unemployment rate has increased and many Americans are losing their jobs; however, statistics have also shown that technology is increasing and so are desires of Americans.

Shepard repeatedly states that with success comes sacrifice: he sacrificed his evening outs, free time in order to earn extra money, and also his purchases to save for later in life. When shopping for clothes, “I even thought about splurging for a couple extra pairs of pants and shirts, but the timing didn’t seem right. ” (p. 74, Shepard) The economy needs to start thinking money savvy: instead of splurging on items, settle for the necessities. Shepard said others have criticized his experiment; however by briefly including the accounts of others (Marco, Derrick, BG, ect. , all with different backgrounds, and how they have advanced in society, gives his book credibility. The journey of Adam Shepard was in his eyes the achievement of the “American Dream. ” He surpassed his goals by saving around $5300 while living in an apartment with monthly expenses. Everyone has their own definition of the “American Dream” and it is up to them to figure out what it is and how they will be able to achieve it. Like Adam Shepard said, “We are only as strong as our weakest link. ” (p. 215, Shepard)

Scratch Beginnings essay

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Scratch Beginnings. (2018, Feb 17). Retrieved from

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