The alarm goes off three times, and Michelle Jarrett presses snooze after each. Just five more minutes, she thinks. On the third ring, she forces herself to get out of bed. It’s about 5:30 in the morning, and Michelle has to be at her first job at seven.
She leaves the bedroom that she shares with her second husband, Joe, and takes their chocolate Lab, Reese, outside. In the kitchen, she begins to pack her lunch for the day.
Michelle currently works two jobs. She is employed part time at Kohl’s and is one of four managers at Office Depot, where she has worked since she was sixteen.
She is now thirty-seven, and this was not the dream she had in mind when she married her first husband in 2003. Rather, she saw all of her years of hard work paying off with promotions, a happy marriage, and a big house with a white picket fence and a lot of land to raise six kids – the perfect family. Her image very much resembled the stereotypical American Dream.
But her life hasn’t turned out to be what historian James Truslow Adams had in mind when he coined the term “American Dream” in 1931. He defined the American Dream as a land where everyone has the opportunity to succeed through hard work.
However, there are multiple interpretations of the American Dream.
With hard work, Michelle thought she would be inevitably successful in her job, find someone to settle down with, and be able to afford a white house on a big plot of land to raise her family. When she married her first husband, she had this dream for the two of them.
But those dreams were much harder to achieve than she ever could have thought.
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