Intro to sociology paper

It is often argued that American society is a meritocracy in which every individual has an equal opportunity to succeed. From this perspective, those individuals who have talent and work hard end up in higher social classes; those individuals without much talent and who don’t work hard end up in the lower social classes. Each generation has a new chance to succeed, regardless of how well its parents did. The merit of individuals, then, would explain why society is unequal. 
Basing yourself on the sociological arguments, data, and evidence we have studied so far this semester (not your personal opinions or experience), make an argument as to whether (or not)–or to what extent–our society is, indeed, such a meritocracy. What would be the position of Marxists and functionalists on this issue?