Which ideologies can we see in "City of my Dreams" by Per Anders Fogelström?

Fogelström’s work of historical fiction, City of Dreams, reflects the human experience of moving to a new place for a new start and the hopes that come with this. Ultimately the text reveals how ideologies of industrialization transformed Sweden and its people. We can apply this story to the impact of urban ideologies in general and how dreams of economic success often conflict with the realities of socioeconomic inequality.

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Fogelström initially describes the city by saying it was a “city extended on a silver tray like a gift. Ready to be taken by eager hands.” (12). His use of simile, hyperbole, and imagery here reflect the dreams newcomers often have when pondering or moving to a new urban center. Cities’ large populations and booming industries often create hopes of economic opportunity, stability, and success.

However, as Fogelström writes on, the book begins to reveal that cities usually fail to meet people’s optimistic expectations. This was especially true during the industrial revolution. For example, consider the stark contrast between Fogelström’s initial description of the “gray smokestacks...bearing witness to opportunities” and the way smoke is later discussed throughout the book. Asphyxiation from smoke kills several children and burns down low-income housing. Fogelström also describes the “filth” children live in, the abuse of poor factory workers, and the desperation of women working on the streets.

The book exposes how the realities of Swedish industrialization shattered many dreams of city life and transformed the country. Yet while Fogelström critiques the negative effects of larger socioeconomic forces, he also constructs individual, personable personalities for his characters. This contrast suggests that no matter the bleakness of a situation, human connection is a constant, positive force.

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