The American dream is a dream that says if you work hard enough, you will achieve success. And to some people, that is great. But to others it might put pressure on them.
Especially if you have someone close to you, that has achieved the American dream. Someone that has worked their ass off, to be able to get to the top. And if they have achieved it, they might expect you to do the same.
And it can be extremely hard to live under those circumstances. The story “Close to the water’s edge” by Claire Keegan, takes us into the life of a young man, who is struggling with exactly that.
The billionaire, as he is being referred to as, is a man that doesn’t care what everyone else thinks of him. He speaks what he thinks, and it doesn’t matter to him if it hurts someone.
Even if it is his wife. He keeps saying things that he knows will irritate his wife. He is a rich man and he doesn’t hide that. He is being arrogant to both the young man and his wife.
“He got a 3,75 GPA last semester. Now what do you think of that, Richard? 3,75? Not bad.” (Page 4 lines 16-18). The mother is telling Richard what the young man’s GPA was, and instead of telling the young man that it is a very good job, Richard arrogantly responds “not bad”.
It seems like there is no love in their relationship at all. You also sort get the idea that the mother is only with Richard because of his money. She doesn’t seem like one that loves Richard.
I think that is why we get the story of the grandmother too. She spent her entire life with a man that she didn’t love.
But that was just how it was back then. Their lives have turned into a parallel. The grandmother spent her life with a man she didn’t love, and now the mother is doing that as well.