The story Volar and American Dream

Thestory Volar and American Dream

Inthe story &quotVolar,&quotJudith Ortiz Cofer, exploresthe experiences of the immigrants in America as they seek the lifethey dreamt to have. After reading the story, I feel that the writerachieves her intention of putting across the message to the world. Inthis response, I think that the book wanted to explain that the ideaof the American dream is misunderstood. I think that the experiencesin the story show that the American dream cannot be achieved incircumstances that do not favor success in life. The family in thestory in the story “Volar” has high ambitions in the form ofachieving concrete and abstract dreams in America. The concretedreams are depicted to be the material achievements while abstractdreams are the freedoms enjoyed in America.

Thenarrator, who is the girl in the story, realizes that her family hasseveral dreams, most of which are the same as she also aspires inAmerica. According to Lee (72), Cofer notes that such a child isforced to accept the dreams of their parents. Therefore, I feel thatthe family had the wrong idea of the American dream, which shapedtheir expectations of what they will achieve in America. According tothe story, the family of the immigrants is too expectant of a lifethat their circumstances could not lead them to achieve. Therefore,the achievement of the American dream is not something that can beachieved because someone is in America. Instead, it is a notion thatcan be achieved from any other place.

Afterreading the story, I realized that lack of the right circumstancescould be the main reason why many people do not achieve what theyexpect to achieve in life. It does not matter whether a person is inAmerica or in another country, what matters are the circumstancesthat a person gets exposed to. Therefore, the concept of the Americandream is misconceived to mean that America is the land where allaspirations of a person are achieved. According to Hochschild(15), theidea of the American dream has been misunderstood to mean a worldwhere all good things can happen to a person. While this may be true,it does not apply to all immigrants who come into the land.

Forinstance, the narrator of “Volar,” the little girl in the storyhas the typical idea of the American dream that Hochschilddescribes.The little girl has both abstract dreams and concrete dreams that sheseeks to achieve in America. One concrete dream is the oneexemplified by the comic book “Supergirl”that she read, depicting a girl with blond hair flying. This showshow many people are influenced by the popular culture in the Americanscene in regard to the American dream (Smith 72). While this may actas a way of representing America to the world, its adoption as theAmerican dream is inappropriate.

Forinstance, the author would literary think that she would fly, whenher parents were asleep. According to Cofer (278), she would tiptoeto the roof and stretches her arms in a position ready to fly fromthe fifth story window. The use of the graphic description by theauthor portrays how wrong people can be about the idea of theAmerican dream. While people have dreams about living in America, Ifeel the story shows that the achievement of such dreams can be madefrom anywhere and not necessarily in America. Through the story, theauthor exposes the extent of extreme expectations that people have inregard to the American dream.


Cofer,Judith Ortiz. “Volar.”The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Kelly J. Mays. New York:W. W. Norton&amp Company, Inc., 2013. 277-279. Print.

Hochschild,Jenifer. FacingUp to the American Dream: Race,Class, and the Soul of the Nation.Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995, Print

Lee,Robert. MulticulturalAmerican Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a and AsianAmerican Fictions.Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2003, Print.

Smith,Patrick. ThematicGuide to Popular Short Stories. SantaBarbara: GreenwoodPublishing Group, 2002, Print

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