Changing Conceptions of the American Dream," Matthew Washauer, Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, examines why the majority of Americans have been trapped with pursuit of happiness through materialistic success as their mere dream. The impact on the world perspective of the notion of "American Dream" could be perfectly examined through British movie, Slumdog Millionaire based on the adaptation of the novel "Q & A" of the Indian author Vikas Sarup which released the notion of "American Dream" as a global pursuit of prosperous life as a reflection of happiness.
Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British romantic drama, directed by Danny Boyle, is based on the story of the Indian author and filmed in India, where the film tells the story of Jamal Malik, a young boy from the Indian slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of British TV Show: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and wins the highest award. Due to his lower class background, where the intelligent individuals are unexpected, the protagonist faces a great number of suspicions which leads to a constant prosecution by Indian law enforcement. The suspicion and constant prosecution of Jamal develops the multiple thematic scenes associated with flashbacks to his past. As most of Hollywood based blockbusters, the the conflict has been resolved with happy ending of a boy coming from the slums. Throughout the story, we can examine how the the desire for a successful life and prosperity is inside our society who are trapped with world economic base superstructure. In this perspective, Matthew Warshauer perfectly examines the idea of the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire as not just simply the TV show, but as a broader reflection of our social construct strongly oriented towards Materialism:
"Little reveals the shift in the quest for the American Dream more than the insanely popular television game show, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," hosted by Regis Philbin. With an average two hundred and forty thousand people per calling in on "Contest Day" attempting to become contestants, and a twenty-nine million per show viewing audience, it is safe to say that Americans are captivated by what many consider to be an easy avenue to achieving financial success. The fact that “Millionaire” was originally a British television show merely emphasizes the extent to which the quest for cash transcends national borders. It is no surprise, however, that the show achieved its greatest success in America" (1).
Based on the perspective of the Western imperialism, the protagonist perpetuates a broader perspective of those who are lacking the privileges and trapped in class struggle of economic superstructure of our modern world of power inequalities on the way to successful life. His struggles to obtain the award perfectly reflects on power differentiation of Capitalism where the most powerful become successful and the poorest keep floating in poverty. Even though, the majority of our society are in search of pursuing the "American Dream," the capitalist objective reality of class struggle, exploitation and discrimination pushing them back from achieving the success, '"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire's" success is directly related to the belief that anyone with a little knowledge and lot of luck can be a millionaire. Such a message resonates with the mass of people specifically because it seems to make the American Dream so easily accessible. In the process, the most basic, traditional means of achieving the Dream, industry, has been eradicated. Poor Richard's counsel to engage in "industry" is unnecessary in such a schema. Nowhere in Franklin's writings did it say, "early to bed, early to rise, hope for some luck and you might win a prize"'(2). The plot of the movie perfectly depicts the notion of easy money comes easy and goes easy. Basically, through protagonist's struggle on the way to achieve the award, the audience may pursue the more realistic scheme of a successful life.
Warshauer Matthew, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Changing Conceptions of the American Dream."