For Kate Chopin and Upton Sinclair, the American Dream is the lack of ability (or opportunity) for a person to make a life for him or herself through hard work and sacrifice. This, they seem to argue, is impossible for many women or immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century. Women could rarely own property or take employment; poor immigrants become trapped in cycles of poverty that did not allow them to experience real freedom. If the promise of America is in the ability of working people to achieve individual success, how do women and working class individuals have opportunities today that did not exist a hundred years ago? Are there any existing barriers still today?
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