How is identity a vital part of the American Dream in Netherland?

Identity is a vital part of the American Dream in Netherland in that Chuck Ramkissoon's version of the Dream involves bringing together a broad range of people from different ethnic backgrounds through the game of cricket.

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Joseph O'Neill's understanding of the American Dream is a good deal more expansive and less restrictive than that put forward by many commentators since the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

These commentators have tended to put forward a version of the American Dream in which immigrants are expected to make...

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Joseph O'Neill's understanding of the American Dream is a good deal more expansive and less restrictive than that put forward by many commentators since the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

These commentators have tended to put forward a version of the American Dream in which immigrants are expected to make a clean break with the countries in which they were born and embrace all aspects of American cultural life, irrespective of the numerous difficulties that this presents. This ethnocultural conception of the American Dream represents a revival of the conservative version of citizenship that predominated during the 1920s, when tolerance towards immigrants reached a low point.

O'Neill's picture of the American Dream really couldn't be more different. As an American citizen from a mixed background, he understands that the relationship between identity and the American Dream is a good deal more complex than some would have us believe.

The complex nature of this relationship is illustrated in Netherland by the character of Chuck Ramkissoon, an immigrant from Trinidad who wishes to achieve the American Dream by opening a cricket ground in New York. As well as being monumentally over-ambitious, Chuck's projected vision aims to bring people from all different backgrounds and ethnicities together.

Far from the American Dream imposing a monocultural conformity, in the hands of Chuck Ramkissoon it represents a celebration of difference. Yet at the same time, it expresses the drive, the confidence, and the entrepreneurial vision traditionally associated with the American Dream.

In showing how it's possible for the American Dream and an expansive notion of national identity to coexist, O'Neill uses cricket, a truly multicultural, international sport, as a metaphor for how it can be done. In the mind of the eccentric visionary Chuck Ramkissoon, the American Dream is kept alive, while at the same time maintaining its openness to different cultures and identities.

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