The American Dream Assignment

The American Dream Assignment Words: 4774

l have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. ” ? Henry David Thoreau What is the American Dream? The concept of dreams ? the dream of practicing religion without persecution, the dream of having the freedom to pursue happiness, the dream of equality and self- betterment, and the dream of wealth and comfort ? has molded America into a land of boundless hope. Understanding how the American Dream has evolved throughout he history of this great nation begins with the recognition that the type of life many people imagine having has shaped and has been shaped by political and social beliefs. What motivates people to pursue their dreams? Are dreams illusions that send people on a search for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? Do people dream to cope with the bleak reality of their lives? Does the death of one person’s dream affect the dreams of others? When dreams are achieved, are people transformed? When dreams are abandoned, how do people endure?

Examining these questions will help you develop a better sense of yourself and the societal and global ores that shape your life. Think about your life now and your educational, career and lifestyle goals. Where do you envision yourself ten years from now? Do you hope to win the lotto or become a self-made billionaire? Do you hope to provide financial and emotional security for your family? Or do you simply hope to be a good person who treats others with respect and dignity? Your hopes are Intertwined with the hopes of the people and characters you will meet throughout this semester in literature.

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We will revisit these questions in this section’s warm-up activity. English 3: Daring to Dream Section Warm-up: Contemporary American Dream Discussion Presentation Transcript We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ” When Thomas Jefferson wrote these words our country was still so new. Just a dream, really beautiful dream. The foundations of America are built upon the backs of many people who have firmly believed in the beauty of their dreams.

People who searched for religious tolerance. People who suffered for the sake of freedom. People who struggled with the injustice of inequality. People who sacrificed their rights and lives. ” when he Journeyed to the British American colony. Arriving Just in time for the American Revolution. His greatest contribution was the pamphlet he distributed entitled “Common Sense. ” .. Have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, reaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a few months. ” Shirley Jackson is an acclaimed American author, most well-known for her short story “The Lottery. ” A story that suggests there is a deeply inhumane side to small-town America. When asked to clarify the meaning of the story Jackson said, “Explaining Just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult.

I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story’s readers with a graphic determination of the pointless violence and mineral inhumanity in their own lives. ” Martin Luther King Jar. , a clergyman, activist, and major leader in the Civil Rights moment, is most well-known for his significant contribution in the progress of civil rights and racial equality in America. King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. The day before his death he gave a moving, if not ominous speech… We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I Just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. ” You have Just seen the American Dream of three very prominent historical figures.

The texts in this course reflect the stories of generations of people and characters who have strives to achieve the American Dream. Throughout this course we will seek connections between the present and the past, between your lives and the lives of the many historical figures you will meet. Fore us, those we love and know now, and those we have yet to meet. So I ask you now… What is your American Dream? “l do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation.

The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it ?and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you ?ask what you can do for your country. ” Rhetoric Rhetoric is when a person uses effective speaking and writing in communication. Good public speaking always begins with a carefully written speech. Next, the person delivering the message practices and polishes the speech. There are three main rhetorical terms that guide the design and delivery of an effective speech: Context, Audience, and Design.

Context Context is the opportune moment or occasion for a speech. The speech writer or speaker must be aware of the time, the place, and the appropriate choice of words. Audience All rhetoric must be designed to the people who will hear or read it. Design Design is the process of making the speech fit to the context and audience. Rhetoric – Persuasion There are three types of persuasive arguments: 1 . Logos 2. Pathos 3. Ethos Logos is an argument of reason that appeals to the audience’s rationality. Pathos is an argument that appeals to the audience’s emotions.

Ethos is an argument that uses the persuasive appeal to a person’s character. This is also called charisma. Analyzing Speeches When you analyze a speech use the following Five-Step Speech Analysis Process: 4. Determine the topic the speaker selected for the speech. 5. Look at the arrangement of the speech to determine “what” the speaker is saying about the topic. . Look at the words and phrases in the speech to determine “how’ the speaker makes his or her points. 7. Look for allusions to other speeches, historical figures, and timeshares. 8. Look at how the speaker delivers the speech.

When you analyze a speech, the first thing is to determine the topic. Next, you need to determine the type of rhetoric used in the speech. For example, the speaker may: Show the definition of a subject or idea different things Show relationships between things, such as cause and effect or contradictions Show circumstances that are possible or impossible Provide testimony of authorities, witnesses, or facts in documents Refute rumors The second step in analyzing a speech is to look at the design of the speech to determine “what” speaker said.

Often, an effective speech is arranged the same way a good paper would be written using the 5-Paragraph Essay Model: 9. Introduction 10. Body 11. Conclusion The third step in analyzing a speech is to look at the style, or “how” the speaker creatively expressed his or her ideas. Look at how the speaker used appropriate words and phrases to determine if the speaker was effective in making sure the audience understood the message. Style is particularly important in persuasion and the speaker will express the ideas of the speech through pathos, logos, and ethos.

Often the writer or speaker will appeal to the emotions of the audience (pathos), use his or her authority and credibility (ethos), and reason (logos). A good speech is more than memorizing the text word-for-word. In the fourth step of speech analysis, you must determine if the speaker used allusion to connect the topic to the context in which the speech was delivered. An allusion is a direct or implied reference to literature or history. In a speech, a speaker usually has a limited amount of time to reach his audience.

Allusions are an effective stylistic tool because the speaker can reference something the audience already knows without going into great detail. In this way, the speaker gets a larger meaning from fewer words. Many everyday figures of speech are allusions to works of art or literature. For example, when someone says you have the “patience of Job,” he or she is alluding to a story from the Bible. In the story, Job was forced to endure many hardships. However, throughout the story, he never gave up. He exhibited great patience and perseverance.

Because many people are familiar with this story, we can reference it, and our few words take on a much larger meaning. In this step of your analysis, you should also determine if the speaker used an appropriate amount of relevant information in the speech in addition to the use of allusion. The last step in analyzing a speech is to determine if the speaker adequately delivered the speech. Look to see if he or she used correct language for the audience, appropriate vocal quality and pitch, hand gestures, and eye contact. Next, see if the speaker’s physical attire was appropriate to the audience and setting.

Finally, determine if the speaker felt comfortable with and interacted with the audience. Searching for Change The sass were volatile not only because of the escalating racial tensions that had plagued America for more than one hundred years, but also because change infused every fiber of society: Younger generations began questioning the authority of the government as well as conservative social norms. Massive protests against the Vietnam War were staged. The Chicane Movement strove to change the negative stereotype of Mexican- Americans portrayed in mass media.

It also fought discrimination against Mexican- Americans in the workplace and in public life. The American Dream thrived in a social and political environment where individuals could unite to revolutionize America once again. Beneath the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and before a mass of Americans Joined by their pursuit of equality, Martin Luther King, Jar. Delivered his famous speech, “l Have a Dream” on August 28, 1963. The rhetoric of “l Have a Dream” inspired and influenced a generation of people searching for a beacon of light during the ass, and it continues to motivate people today.

To understand how “l Have a Dream” acts as a bridge between the American Dreams of the sass and today, we will analyze the language of the speech to identify its main ideas and author viewpoint. As you listen and read Dry. Martin Luther King, Jar. ‘s speech make sure you: Summarize the main idea of the speech in one sentence. Take notes about the process you used to identify the main idea. What techniques did you use? What evidence helped you identify the main idea? Identify words and passages that you don’t understand. Please remember that you may watch this 17 minute speech as often as necessary.

You may also stop the speech so that you have time to write down your thoughts. Before listening to the speech, define “main idea. ” How can we recognize the main idea? Although your answer may be slightly different, “main idea” means more than a summary of what a paragraph or text is about. It is more accurate to say that the main idea expresses the point the author wants the reader to understand after reading the whole text, not Just parts of it. For example, the series of Harry Potter books are about a boy with magical powers.

The main idea, however, has more to do with Hardy’s struggle to deal with social expectations of friends, the magic community, and himself. Literary Elements of Fiction and Non-fiction Finding the main ideas and making sense of a text, particularly a historical text, can be difficult for many reasons. One of the biggest issues can be the unfamiliar vocabulary and language of a text. Consider the following excerpt from “l Have a Dream. ” Make a list of the words and phrases that you would have difficulty defining or explaining. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared into the lames of withering injustice. It came as a Joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatist a rods and phrases that you would have difficulty defining or explaining. Although your answers will vary, you may have difficulty with the following words and phrases: Five score Momentous Decree Seared Withering injustice Manacles Material prosperity Languished Thinking About the Impact of a Speaker’s Voice and Word Choice As you consider the impact of Martin Luther King, Jar. s voice and word choices on the main idea of the “l Have a Dream” speech, it is important to keep the two main objectives of a speaker in mind: 12. To convey the message in a way that the audience can easily understand thou sacrificing its nuance and complexity 13. To convey the message in a way that will move the audience’s emotions and inspire them to action. A speaker’s voice emerges from the combination of techniques he or she employs to meet the these two objectives. To evaluate how well a speaker delivers the message he or she wishes to communicate, analyze the clarity and coherence of the speech: Is it easy to understand? Can you follow its logic as it moves from point to point? Do the various points hold together or do they contradict each other? To critique how well a speaker moves his r her audience’s emotions and inspires them to action, analyze the speaker’s diction and syntax: How does the actual sound of the speaker’s voice and delivery enhance the power of his message? What sorts of patterns occur in the speaker’s phrases and sentences? Does the speaker employ such devices as repetition or parallelism? What specific words or phrases from the speech seem the most powerful or compelling to you?

Why? Skepticism and Belief in the American Dream “Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know. ” ? Michel De Imitation Shared beliefs have the power to create social harmony by knitting together the warheads of society. Skepticism and belief are two strands of social harmony that have unraveled and been mended throughout American history to give new texture to the American Dream. Belief is what Plato called probable knowledge, or knowledge that is likely true. Other theorists have called belief an assumed truth that people create to make sense of the world around us.

Once we have formed a belief, we will try to defend that belief even if evidence proves the belief wrong. Skepticism, on the other hand, states that truth is relative because people’s ability to perceive through sight, earning, smell, etc. Are limited and fallible. If it is easy to make errors about what we see and hear, then we cannot be confident that sensory information is accurate and therefore true. Consider the following statements and think about whether or not you trust our senses. Therefore, what we believe is true cannot be trusted.

Previously, we explored our own beliefs and definitions about the American Dream. Now we will weave our way through the following questions: Are our beliefs about the American Dream trustworthy? What happens when people ignore contradictory evidence to their beliefs? What is the relationship between belief and doubt (skepticism)? Main Idea and Theme Previously in the course, you learned that the topic of a text is a plot summary, and what the text (and author) is saying about the topic is the main idea and theme.

If you were to state that Shirley Jackson’s short story is about an unusual lottery in a small town, you would be summarizing the plot without explaining the author’s point about this unusual lottery. The literary elements of plot are tools to help a reader identify the basic information common to all stories. Strong, critical readers, however, just delve deeper into the text by thinking about how these literary elements work together to convey the author’s main idea and viewpoint. For example, what is Shirley Jackson’s point about this unusual lottery?

In most fiction, the plot helps to identify the main ideas, and the main ideas help to identify theme. In fiction, themes act as a framework that restricts the characters, setting, and conflicts. A well-defined theme lies beneath the surface of a story to give it focus. The reader must use hints or clues from the plot to explain the truths the author is trying to make about life and how people behave. Because truth is relative for readers, different readers may identify different themes.

As long as the theme makes a statement about life or the behavior of people and can be supported with specific examples from the text, it can be considered a probable theme. Process of Unraveling the Theme Finding the theme involves a process, similar to the process of using context clues to understand the meaning of words and identifying the main ideas of a text. When identifying a theme, it helps to go through four steps: Step 1: Identify the main literary elements of plot. Remember these include exposition (characters and eating), conflict (internal and external), rising action, climax, and resolution. Step 2: Identify the most important conflicts and moments in the story using the plot information you found in Step 1. Step 3: Identify the topic. What is the story about? In “l Have a Dream,” the topic is modern slavery. Step 4: Combine the most important conflicts and moments in the story with the topic to identify a theme about life, the behavior of people, or humanity. Express this theme with a short two to four word phrase such as “the American Dream” or “Belief and Skepticism. ” Both phrases relate to the behavior of people.

For example, the different texts we read in this course will describe how people and characters pursue the American Dream. The texts in this section will frame the behavior of people acting out of faith and skepticism The Threads of Themes different themes, and it is common for stories to have more than one theme. A reader, however, must use specific evidence from the text (plot and topic) to support his or her view about the life or the behavior of people for it to be considered a viable theme. Remember the steps in the theme process include: 14.

Identify the literary elements of the plot. 15. Identify the most important conflicts and moments in the story using the plot. 16. Identify the topic of the story or what it is about. 17. Combine the most important conflicts and moments in the story with the topic to make a short two to four word statement about life, the behavior of people, or humanity. Think about how you would summarize the story in one paragraph that includes a brief description of the setting, characters, conflict, rising action, climax, and resolution. How would you summarize the plot to a friend?

Although your summary may be slightly different, it may look something like this: On a bright mummer day in a small, quiet American town, both children and adults are preparing for the annual lottery that welcomed the start of the corn harvest. Children out of school for the event are gathering stones and guarding them against other children. Parents chat with neighbors and call their children to their sides as Mr.. Summers conducts the important civic duty of preparing the old wooden box containing the slips of paper for the lottery. Testis Hutchinson, late for the lottery, shows up Just in time to be declared the “winner. The townspeople, both children and adults alike, tone her to death in the proper, traditional manner of the lottery rules. What are the most important conflicts and moments in the story? Which problems stand out to you? Which moments during the lottery are particularly vivid? Your list may include conflicts and moments such as: Mrs.. Adams being subtle in questioning the lottery. Testis Hutchinson only questions the town tradition when it directly affects her family. Discussion about other towns giving up the lottery and how they are young fools. Lottery has been around at least 77 years (Old Man Warder’s age). Testis Hutchinson shouts that it isn’t fair that her husband won the lottery. Mr.. Hutchinson forces his wife’s hand open to reveal the black dot. What is the story about? One possible answer is the story is about the ritual of a small town lottery. What themes can you identify by combining the most important conflicts and moments with the topic to reveal something about the behavior of people or humanity? Possible themes include: Blind faith and beliefs (belief in the lottery even though some are questioning it in subtle ways). Tradition versus reason (lottery as old as Old Man Warner who wants o preserve the lottery–calls other towns young fools for giving up the lottery). Pack mentality (Steve Adams who questioned tradition in front of a pack of blind followers) Hypocrisy and self-preservation (Testis only questions the lottery when it directly affects her family and her own life). Remember to double check to see if these themes make statements about the behavior of people or humanity. Can you identify any that don’t fall under this category? If you said “no,” you are correct.

The Writing Process topic happened to be, many times, the writer composed the final draft at one sitting. However, we now realize that writing is a process or series of steps, and that more often than not, good writing requires a great deal of rewriting. Writing, like music, must be composed. A composer does not ordinarily sit down and write an entire musical selection on the first effort. Instead, composing is a long, sometimes difficult, process. This, too, is true for writing. As a writer, you cannot focus on the entire composition in the beginning, but rather you must work through the writing in steps.

The steps in the writing process are inventing, drafting, and revising and editing. In his lesson, you will explore these steps by tracing how a topic evolves throughout the writing process. Typically, the more time you spend on the steps in the process, the better the finished product will be. Since you are probably familiar with the five- paragraph essay format, we will use it for the purposes of this lesson. However, it is important to note that this process is valuable when preparing many types of writing ?paragraphs, essays, research papers, letters and even speeches.

Step 1 : Invention Techniques Writing assignments come in all shapes and sizes. For some assignments, you will elect your own topic or at least have a broad range of choices. For others, your choices may be more restricted. In either case, you still must decide what to write about, what direction to take, and what main ideas to focus on. Is there an easy way to make those decisions? Not necessarily, but there is help in the form of invention techniques, which are strategies you can use to help you get started. Invention techniques quite often help you break the “writer’s block” logjam by getting the ideas flowing.

The three techniques this lesson illustrates are brainstorming, clustering, and directed questioning. Most of you have used the brainstorming technique. It consists of simply listing as many ideas as you can think of about a particular topic. Brainstorming is Just throwing out possible ideas and writing them down as they come to mind. Once the list is pretty extensive, then you can step back and look at the items and see if you can identify any patterns, major ideas, or groups that might be used to organize and develop in the writing. For this sample assignment, let’s write about the benefits of exercise.

The first task is to brainstorm ideas related to this topic: Health and fitness Improves self-confidence Reduces depression Physical benefits Thinking skills Better mood Flexibility Energy Sleep Mental benefits Quality of life Break from routine Anger and frustration Alertness Weight control Risks of diseases Depression Better performance Immune system Emotional benefits Aging Creativity and imagination Dealing with problems As you can see from this example, the ideas are not in any particular order or form.

When you can’t think of any more topics, pick out the ideas that are the most rumoring for developing into an essay. Another valuable invention technique is clustering. This technique helps group ideas by identifying connections among them. This, in turn, helps organize the ideas. Look at the brainstorming list and see if you can determine which ideas you might use for the major points in an essay about the benefits of exercise. You probably chose the following: physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Now look at how the subtopics fall naturally in at least one of those major groups. A third invention technique is directed questioning.

This teeth usually provides answers to the six Journalistic or reporter’s questions?who, what, when, where, why, and how. Directed questioning is useful when you have a topic, but you are unsure of how you want to approach it. In this way, direct questioning helps limit or narrow the topic by focusing on the major points. Look at this example: Who: young adults What: exercise When: lifetime, regular Where: home, gym Why: physical, mental, emotional benefits How: self-motivation This method allows for a quick survey of the major aspects of a topic and may give you enough information to get starting in drafting the essay.

You now have several invention techniques that are useful for beginning the writing process. The purpose of each is to help you get ideas flowing and to get them on paper or on the computer. At that point, you are ready to begin drafting. Step 2: Drafting In English Ill, you study the five-paragraph essay format. So for the purposes of illustration, that is the format you will explore here. However, in many instances, especially in higher level courses and in college level work, essays may not always be five paragraphs. However, regardless of the length, the format will usually be the AMA?introduction, body, and conclusion.

So the writing process theory can really be applied to almost any format. Drafting takes the results of the inventing process and develops them into an essay. The draft is a quick write and is not meant to be read by anyone else. So don’t stop to revise or edit. Just let the ideas flow. You will review the draft more closely later. Using the five-paragraph essay format, let’s draft an essay using the benefits of exercise as the topic. Exercise is good for us.

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