Half Broke Horses: Lily and the American Dream (+summary)

Lily Casey Smith was a women which embodied the American Dream in many ways and which has inherited a lot of ideas and ideals of the American Dream.

First of all, she believed in democracy. Her father, who was interested in politics, constantly wrote letters to politicians and kept bragging about some of their doings, definitely passed on some of his knowledge and commitment on Lily. Especially in her older days, when she lived in Horse Mesa, she got politically active, signing up neighbors for elections and participating in the Democratic Party.

Lily’s positive view on change, progress and growth is also a character trait of her, that shows the ideals of the American Dream. She was sure that there is only one way to go for her and the USA: Into the future. She didn’t understand her father who was complaining about modern inventions and she was an early adopter of cars and even planes, taking flying lessons in a time where most people didn’t even own a car.

Furthermore, her family and she herself were really living the frontier spirit, claiming land under the Homestead Act and by that promoting the expanse of the USA westwards. Lily in particular was a real westerner. She grew up in the west, lived on a ranch near a village of Native Americans and watched western cities like Phoenix grow rapidly.

The European roots of Lily are also worth mentioning, since it shows that the American people are a nation of immigrants which all feel American nevertheless. Lilies European roots do not play an important role for Lily’s life which is really representative for the ideas of the American Dream: No matter where you are coming from, we are all equal and have the same possibilities for success.

Finally and in my opinion most importantly, Lily was born in a dugout into a pretty poor family that had no noteworthy academic achievements and she died as a member of a well-established middle-class family in their own house, owning a college degree, a car and even several apartments in phoenix. During her lifetime she worked very hard to achieve the things she wanted to. She saved and made money wherever she could and got a good education. She had to face a lot of obstacles, for example her first husband who led a double life and lost all their money, but in the end, all the obstacles just made her grow and she always learned something from them. By doing just that, striving for success and working really hard for it, she did something good for herself and her country and this really shows that she is an embodiment of the American Dream.

To sum it up, Lily Smith Casey was a really remarkable women and embodied the American dream in many ways: her believe in democracy, her European roots, her positive views on progress, the frontier spirit, her ability to overcome obstacles and her upward mobility from being dirt-poor and without any proper education to being financially very stable and owning a college degree.

PS: I summarized the book while reading it and I thought I would upload the summary here if anyone is interested:

Half Broke Horses – Jeannete Walls (summary/overview)

Aaron ⭐


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