The American Dream
The works, Up From Slavery by George Washington and Place in the Sun by Rubalcaba describe importance of freedom and liberation in life of every person. In his autobiography, Up From Slavery Washington depicts casualties of life and grievances experienced since by the author in childhood. Place in the Sun portrays ideas of freedom from the viewpoint of an Egyptian boy, Senmut, who is sentenced. Washington and Rubalcaba show that the dream changed life and destiny of main characters of their stories. Thesis The main similarity is that both authors value freedom most of all thus achieve their dream using different methods and strategies.
For Washington and Rubalcaba, personal achievements and development of the self is the main priority. The strength of both books is that they depict the system of slavery where there were three classes of slaves: field hands, house servants, and skilled laborers. Born as a slave, Washington did not know the exact date and place of his birth. “I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery” (Washington n.d.). Place in the Sun criticizes religion and slavery. It also makes a gloomy comment on human history. The desire to curve the status of goodness leads to disaster suggests the impossibility of such developments. The book implies a history in which no real progress is made and in which the mistakes of mankind are repeated endlessly.
Both Washington and Senmut are not free: Washington is a slave but Senmut is imprisoned in mines. Similar to Washington, Rubalcaba describes that the field hands began their work at sunrise with the sound of the horn as each was allotted his task for the day. Washington writes that at noon, time was allowed for lunch, after which work was resumed until three or four when the task was completed. The slave was now free to “cultivate his garden, hire himself to his master for extra labor, or take a stroll to visit his wife or mistress on some adjoining plantation.” (Washington n.d.). Each morning it was the duty of the overseer to assign the daily work for the slaves and, when the task was completed, to inspect the fields to see that the work had been done properly. Similar to Washington, Rubalcaba hat at the end of the day, the mines are inspected and prisoners are given any necessary instructions for the next day. Both for Washington and Senmut it was extremely difficult to receive an education> Washington did everything possible to finish the New Hampton University while Senmut escaped from death. “Senmut held his breath. He waited until he was sure Zuka had disappeared into the night” (Rubalcaba 51).
In both works, “the American dream” for freedom is the most important thing in life the characters. Naturally, the changes in the narratives reflect Senmut and Washington’s changing concerns as life proceeds; the heroes’ changing conception of the story they live changes the narrative of that life, the meaning he draws from it, and the implicit philosophical and moral framework he hopes the narrative will support. The changes reflect also the changing demands Washington and Senmut are faced as they attempt to assert control over life and their destiny. Washington questions: “There were many important National questions bearing upon the life of the race which were being agitated at that time, and this made it all the harder for us to decide to go” (Washington n.d.).
For both characters, “the American dream” means resistance. Similar to millions of people, Washington did resist being enslaved. As the critics of slavery Washington blamed the South’s chronic problem of soil exhaustion upon the system of slave labor. In the relationship Senmut constructs between narrator and readers, Senmut necessarily focuses on what is at once the most intimate and the most public manifestation of his cultural identity. The reader, thus positioned, faces not only a discomforting choice but also the recognition that the choice is artificially restrictive.
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Senmut is a presence both beyond and within each of these specters–a complex self represented by neither but involved in the representation of both. Rubalcaba writes: “Prisoners slept soundly. The day’s work left them dreamlessly” (49). Similar to Rubalcaba, Washington draws attention to the multiplicity of the enslaving world and indicates his attention to that world’s multiple discourses of brutalization. In his attraction to this world that excludes civilization but not nature, Washington emphasizes both the power of culture to shape adaptable natures and the extent to which Washington himself had internalized the larger struggle. Rubalcaba explicitly links the exploitation of the people to imperialism, implicating not only technology, but also the efficiency of slave work
The main difference is that Washington is a hero who changed his life and escape slavery educating himself; he tried to change the world and life of other people who suffered. In Place in the Sun the main character is able to overwhelm his human rivals largely through sheer force of numbers. Once again, the most negative feature of Egyptian society is the complete lack of justice. The other difference is that the events of Place in the Sun take place in ancient Egypt while Washington speaks about Slavery in America. Each nation and each sect declare the Absolute its own unique property, leading to near-disastrous consequences worldwide by stirring already existing rivalries to a pitch that results in a global conflict that destroys freedom.
In sum, Rubalcaba and Washington portray the American dream as the main goal the characters to achieve. The American dream means freedom, liberation and resistance to oppression, slavery and imprisonment. The message seems clear: there is no single truth but many truths, and the proclamation of any religion (or any ideology) as the One True Faith can lead only to dire consequences. In particular, there is a severe danger that any group that considers its ideology absolutely correct will feel justified in employing any means to achieve its ends.