Thornton Wilder's Our Town addresses expectations of normalcy in terms of a historically oriented American Dream. What modern day cultural texts do the same thing?

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Thornton Wilder's play makes one small town the iconic Everytown, USA. With the Stage Manager to guide us, we see the characters experience and sometimes overlook their daily hopes and fears. Through Emily, caught in a limbo of the newly departed, we are forced to think about fleeting mortality.

In considering modern interpretations of these and other themes as related to a normalized American Dream, you will have to decide which aspects resonate with you. Perhaps an aspect of American life that resembles or draws on your own heritage? Many works by writers who are immigrants or whose parents were consider the changing meanings. Jamaica Kincaid, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Chang Rae Lee all come to mind.

"Modern" drama of the mid-late-twentieth century frequently deployed the theme. Edward Albee wrote a play titled "The American Dream." Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun takes its title from a Langston Hughes poem that asks, "what happens to a dream deferred?"

Think as well about how our norms...

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