Bachelor Thesis from the year 2017 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, University of Paderborn, language: English, abstract: The foundation of the American Dream is a set of values including freedom, opportunity, equality, prosperity and success. The credo that everybody can make it "from rags to riches" is strong among Americans. The citizens believe that everybody in their country is equal, has the same opportunities and chances and can be successful in life - as long as they work hard enough for that. This belief got carried on through the centuries, its tangibility proven by the few lucky ones who actually made it, exploited by Republicans for their campaign and after all has always been one of the cornerstones of the American culture. Unfortunately the American Dream cannot be lived by every citizen of the States. According to Oxfam between one quarter and one third of the American civilization belong to the "Working Poor", a group of people that occupy jobs but do not earn enough money to live off. Many live beneath the poverty line even though they are employed in one or several jobs. These people can be met everywhere: working in restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, daycares and private mansions - to only mention a few. When examining the States' poverty rate there are severe differences between the ages, gender and ethnical backgrounds of the people who are, per definition, poor. The myth of equality has failed many people in the United States. It still is a country driven by prejudices, inequality and false hope. Many citizens, legal and illegal, do not benefit from the system. Exploding costs for health insurance and a decent education are only the tip of the iceberg. A not so small part of America's population struggles to feed their families and to offer their children a future filled with chances, better opportunities and improved living conditions. Escaping a social class is not easy, overcoming prejudices as a member of an ethnic minority is hard and the fight to overcome the gender pay gap is not won yet. People of a lower class, the ones with a foreign heritage, and certainly more men than women, make up the biggest part of the working poor. In the following chapters we will examine the large group of people who work hard and still live under the threshold of poverty. We will analyze the reasons for their situation, why certain groups are more likely to be stuck in low-wage jobs, how hard it is to achieve the American Dream and the psychological consequences of a life spend stuck in a poorly paid job.
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