This chapter explores the author's own experiences with upward mobility traveling between Southeast Chicago and an elite East Coast boarding school. Conservatives often respond to critiques of class divisions in the United States by emphasizing possibilities for upward mobility. They depict upward mobility as a relatively straightforward process at the heart of the American dream. However, such assumptions downplay both the personal and familial ambivalence that can accompany upward mobility and fail to explain why the collective upward mobility that once characterized industrial regions like Southeast Chicago has been replaced by a narrower focus on isolated individuals getting ahead.
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