In cuqtcmpornry Ameri_ca. n cultum of materialism. consumcrism. and chssism promotes a version on”
American Dream ‘that rmgs hollow fat many. Early in the course. we 10ok “P the “m “d weal“ of
lhorcfm 83d M_c( undies to call into question notions of the American Dmam pmnisod on upward
mohllu). gemyg ahead.” and. consequently. living a life of “quiet desperation.“ In the documcfltm’y TW”
Amuru’qn Fault/(es. we saw how be“, thc American Drum and om’s access go ig m shaped by larger
“c””flm’C- Wat and pennant backdrops um in me ease cube two familial chronicled. limiting and
cx en prcgcmmg Americans fmm reaching the Dream of self-reliance, mantle stability. and
«fppnnunm. Douglass’ exceptional narrative of overcoming obstacles to tench his dream of freedom
mm“ “u” “msmcfa‘i‘ms Of Opportunity. access, and social juaice as pan of how we define the larger
“1°09 “d film: For your midterm essay. you ate to take up an essential trait of what you consider
to be at the heart of the American Dream: rugged individualism. upward mobility. meritocracy or perhaps
the myth of meritocracy. equal npmrtunit). hard work. will. freedom. entrepreneurship, literacy and
education. etc. Consider this trait a thread that will tie your essay togethernmle purpose of this essay is to
deeply explore this trait through current American culture. then through course readings.
l. For the first part of your paper. you will essentially make an argument by discussing with
examples. how this trait is illuminated by an aspect of current American culture: For
example. u here do we see individualism or self-reliance as a defining trait of the American
Dream in current political and economic discourses. in changing trends in family and
schooling. in popular culture? Herein)” are to lay om this definingfeamre or trait as it exists
now in the larger American Iamiscape. lt is likely you will have outside research/reading
cited here. You might consider looking at recent political speeches. satire. or popular public
figures, those who are thought to embody the American Dream.
ll. For the second part of your paper. you are to talk across course texts-to synthesize» to
demonstrate how this same trait is manifested and exemplified. You can draw on Thoreau.
Two American chtlies. Krakauer. and/or Douglass. You can also choose to focus on one
text and delve more deeply into it.
Ultimately. you don’t have to agree with the importance ofthe trait you choose. only to explore and
analyze how it’s present. as well as a shaping force. in your own ways of conceiving the American
Dream. You are not arguing for or against something but rather demonstrating its presence. perhaps its
roman Criteria: m teas: are fun pages not including a Works Cited page You must have a Works
Cited page. You must cite at least one of our coursctexts. and you should do so thoughtfully rather than
v ‘ tl ‘. You should also cite secondary sources to demonstrate how your trait is