Lennon, John

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Student Question

Reflect on John Lennon's "Imagine," which for many signifies hope. Is there hope for the American Dream? Choose at least one image from the song or its lyrics that signifies the American Dream.

Expert Answers

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This is actually an interesting question, because, in my own reading, "Imagine" actually signifies a kind of counter-narrative against the language of the American Dream. Lennon's "Imagine" envisions a world without property, where individual countries have been erased in favor of universal brotherhood, where religion has been erased. All this, I would suggest, is at odds with the fierce individualism which underlies the narrative of the American Dream.

The American Dream is rooted in the idea that individuals can succeed on their own merits and work to achieve a better future for themselves and their children. Contrast this with the more collectivist vision espoused by Lennon. Nevertheless, in both cases, there is a shared sense of optimism towards the future and faith in the capacity of people to work to shape and improve it. In that respect, I think similar ground can be found.

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