Money Hungry Questions and Answers
by Sharon Flake

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What message does Money Hungry send about the American Dream?

The message that Money Hungry sends about the American Dream is that systematic economic inequality undermines the American Dream. The book also problematizes the materialistic value system underlying the values of the American Dream.

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Money Hungry, a 2001 young adult novel by Sharon G. Flake, sends a complex message about the American Dream, both looking at unequal levels of opportunity and interrogating the underlying assumptions of materialism.

The American Dream is an image of success that often includes homeownership, a stable middle-class job, and a traditional nuclear family. The novel reflects a twenty-first-century reality in which middle-class jobs are not readily accessible to minorities and people without college educations. Stable middle-class jobs providing lifetime employment and a path to homeownership are no longer as common. This threatens the basic image of America as a land of opportunity in which one can dream that children will have more opportunities than their parents.

Raspberry Hill, the young protagonist of the novel, believes in the American Dream of hard work enabling her to earn money that will keep her family in their home. Although readers admire her determination and self-discipline, the author leads us to realize that her exclusive focus on money leads to a life that is ultimately unsatisfying. Although avoiding homelessness is important, friends and community are also shown to be central components of happiness, and Raspberry's journey to adulthood and self-realization involves learning to balance her quest for economic security with a more satisfying sense of connection to others and more fulfilling emotional life.

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