Monday, 18 January 2016

The Dream of Flight

In this piece, the dream of flight is shown as a cultural evolution and the Wright brothers' contribution to this advancement as they 'conquer the ocean of the air'. Although the flight of the plane was in 1903 and the term 'American Dream' was not popularised until the 1930s, the Wrights pursued the dream of flight for years. This is proof that the American Dream is subjective to individual circumstance and ambition; which is reflected in Cullen's extensive listing of American goals. In Cullen's introduction, he states that 'one of the most familiar American Dreams: that of upward mobility, a dream typically understood in terms of economic and/or social advancement' is highly idealised, and also is what the advancements provided by the Wright brothers focus on. They would open up the study of aerospace engineering to become one of the most commercial industries worldwide, also suitably related to Adam's view of the American Dream being something of a 'bigger, better and fuller' existence in the name of America.

It is events like these that contain the potential to immerse America further into a busier and industrial nation that Adams so intensely describes. For instance, the riverboats multiplying sixfold in sixteen years shows that if there is an open market for specific development, then America will surely invest in it. However, America is often aware of the financial implications of their investements. Adams states that the riverboats 'costing a hundred thousand dollars and more' which mirrors the quote on the exhibiton saying that everyone involved knew the flight 'would prove diffucult and costly'. There is a clear price tag to being 'bigger and better'.

If anything, the Wright brothers endorsed a potentially hedonistic and 'utilitarian' attitude when taking the flight ideas of the Europeans and utilising them to further their own credibility and success. Naturally, it became a game for the Americans to be better than any other nation at flying as it mirrored their ambitions of freedom and individualism.

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