Where The Heart Is
Novalee is unlucky. She\'s seven months pregnant, homeless and headed to

California for an unknown reason. Her dreams of houses, family and love seem far
away. Willy Jack wants money. He craves boozes, sex and freedom. He finds
himself jobless, with a pregnant girlfriend, and a beat up Plymouth destined for

California. In the Billie Letts novel, Where the heart is the American dream
involves family, friends, and material goods. Both Novalee and Willy Jack are in
search of their dreams, the success of which relies on the decision they make
along the way. Family is an important part of Novalee\'s dream. Novalee\'s
childhood was filled with sadness. Her mother deserted her when she was young
and thereafter, she bounced between foster homes until she met Willy Jack. In

Willy Jack, Novalee believes she finds love. To her disappointment she does not.

However, she finds happiness the baby that they made. Her baby becomes center of
strength and her good fortune. "She ran her fingers across her navel and
thought of the baby attached to the other side of it, imagining it could feel
her touch so that it might even reach out to her." Page 53. Americus brings

Novalee, the love and family she wants. Willy Jack sees family as an obstacle to
pass in achieving his dream. He has a narrow view of his life. He desperately
wants money and believes nothing else matters but it. Willy does not realize
that he needs the love of others to help him through life. Willy passes up the
option of family early on his quest for his dream. He deserts his pregnant
girlfriend in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. Leaving her with only $7.77 and the
clothes she is wearing. "She could see herself running, calling his name-
the parking space was empty, the Plymouth gone. He was going to California and
had left her behind..." Page 16. Willy\'s desire for money compels him to
ditch his family. Novalee cherishes the help and support friends provide during
her pursuit of the American Dream. Through the help and guidance of her friends
she is able to excel all aspects of her life. From Moses, a strong, black
photographer she is explores her creative flare. She gains respect from her
community by winning the Greater Southwestern Kodak photography contest. "She
was named Employee of the Week at Wal-Mart, the First National Bank sent a card
of congratulations, and the art teacher at the high school asked her to come to
his classes to speak." Page 216. Novalee takes picture of her friends who
helped her towards her dream, so she never forgets them. Willy Jack uses his
friends as tools, to achieve his dream. When Willy Jack is thrown in prison, his
moneymaking ideas change. He decides he wants to become a country music star.

With the help of the prison librarian he obtains a guitar, and performing
experience. Shortly after his release from prison he meets Ruth Meyers. Ruth is
a talent agent who sets Willy Jack on the path to stardom. However, Willy

Jackís greed over-powers his judgement. Behind Ruthís back Willy Jack tries
to bargain a deal with Johnny Desoto, a big time talent agent. ""Then Iíll
get right to the point." Willy Jack leaned closer to the table, his tone
confidential. "I think Ruth Meyers has gone about as far with me as she can...

She canít make me rich."" Page 256. Willy Jack soon learns that Ruth

Meyers should not be toyed with. She learns of Willy Jack unfaithful ways,
cancels his contract and proclaims heíll never work in show business again. In
search of material goods, Novalee dreams of a house for her family. Novalee does
not wish for large mansions, extravagant cars or designer clothes. All she wants
is house to keep her child safe and warm. "Novalee dreamed of
houses-two-story houses, log cabins, condominiums, ranch houses-anything fixed
to the ground. She had never lived in a place that didnít have wheels under
it." Page 7. Novalee receives her house as a gift from her friend Sister

Husband. Willy Jack pursues enormous wealth at the sacrifice of his health. His
first moneymaking scheme had him headed for California. Where he heard his
cousin J. Paul had made a lot of money working for Union Pacific Railroad.

However, J. Paul wealth was a workers compensation payment for the baby finger
he lost while working. Willy Jack intended on sacrificing his baby finger as
well. "For Willy Jack, a southpaw, the little finger of his