Things always look better from the outside and in Margaret Atwood’s Happy Endings she demonstrates the typical American dream of the perfect life in the first “ending”. Letter A is the embodiment of the American dream, something everyone is expected to strive for. Does this dream really exist? Or is it just a superficial mask people sometimes wear. Upon further scrutiny of this paragraph there are two instances that develop a belief that Atwood believes this dream is false. Not only is there a lack of problems in this ending, but Atwood uses sarcasm constantly in the repetition of the phrase “stimulating and challenging”. This makes this goal of the “American dream” not only unobtainable (because there is no situation where there will be no problems, there will always be some even if they are minor), but it also makes it boring. Say for example there is a neighbor and the story of their lives is “A”. Perfect family, perfect spouse, perfect house, and perfect kids. Something that society as a people are taught to strive for and want at a very young age, especially when this story was written. A person will always strive for that goal but in the end, will never reach it because either “chosen” spouse doesn’t really love them (B), their spouse is cheating ( C ), they loose their house from destructive elements (D), or one of them is sick (E). Atwood supplies us with this superficial “American dream” in letter A but then writes realities in B through E.
Atwoods purpose in writing this text is to question and challenge what was considered the “American dream” during her time. She wants to make it clear that everyone ends the same “John and Mary die”, however it is the stuff in between that make life as interesting as it is and without hardships or conflict, things just wouldn’t be interesting. If everyone lived a life of letter A, life would only be everyone following the same steps, a repetitive motion of the same exact thing over and over. The significance of this text is in the changes made to the ideal American dream as time has gone on. Now, it’s more socially acceptable to graduate with a degree before you marry. Would Atwood agree with the American dream now? Or is her motive really just to go against the grain completely and follow your own path? To choose your own plot and not follow a set standard.