I was mightily influenced by the cartoons collected in The New Yorker Album, 1925-1950 and, come to that, have had a lifelong engagement with the medium of the New Yorker cartoon. Many people confess that the cartoons are the FIRST thing they turn to with each week's issue, so I know I'm not alone. Almost any of the 1925-1950 cartoons can start me on a string of associations and reminiscences, and I don't doubt that the same is true for most of us of a certain age. And you've already seen a gallery of my more-or-less contemporary favorites.

One of the long-running series in the 40s and 50s was William Steig's Dreams of Glory. Here are some that a Google seach offers:

These aren't really so wonderful or so evocative, but they do call attention to something we've all dealt with off and on: Ambition. So (taking off from a Question Betsy came up with) this week let's consider

the role that Ambition has played in our lives.
What Dreams of Glory have you entertained?
Or in what other ways have you tussled with Ambition?

Speaking for myself, I realize that I'm very uncomfortable about Ambition, and much more comfortable thinking about my Aspirations. Thus, I ASPIRE to become a more competent musician and photographer (two realms that I work at), but Ambition seems to imply/involve some sort of completion or arrival that I'm not comfortable espousing. Ambition seems to be putting oneself forward, and to imply a sort of competition that I've always eschewed. Ambitions seem sort of crass, but Aspirations reward the effort more than the deed.

Can I locate any instances of Ambition in my own life? I guess becoming an Eagle Scout was an ambition—to achieve a goal, a status. And perhaps "getting into" Harvard was an ambition, but once there I think it was aspiration that drove and colored my actions. I associate Ambition with Wickham's approach: set goals, work to achieve them, check off progress toward the intended goal. I think I've never done that in the last 60 years, and that I have instead emphasized working on, with the expectation that the end state would be constantly changing—that the "goal" wouldn't remain fixed. Perhaps finishing the Appalachian Trail would count as an ambition, an accomplishment in the sense of a goal set and eventually reached, but my attitude as I remember it was much more to take weekend hikes one at a time.