What is the American Dream?

The idea of the American Dream originated in the early 20th century (around the time that Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby), but is a concept that many Americans still believe in today. Many Americans believe that social and financial success are possible regardless of one’s childhood. But what is the American Dream to you?
  1. View 5 of the resources (videos or links) provided on the American Dream tab on the wiki.
  2. After viewing the resources, explore for 5 additional resources you can find on the Internet. You might visit sites such as: NPR, NYT, NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, FOXNEWS, WSJ, Huffington Post. For example, it's helpful to type: American Dream NYT. Venture into Google (but caution for content). You might want to try to find a basic definition.
  3. Whatever you find, your source must be from a scholarly, academic institution with a credible author.
  4. Create a works cited (MLA) for your 5 sources.
  5. Finally, synthesize your viewed/read information and write your claim for the American Dream: What is the American Dream for the 21st century? Then justify your claim. (MLA)
  • Questions to consider:
  • What was the American Dream?
  • what characteristics define the American Dream for us today?
  • How has the American Dream changed over time?
  • How do diverse cultures view the American Dream?
  • How have significant historical events affected the American Dream?
  • How will new opportunities of the 21st century challenge the American Dream?
  • Consider rural vs. urban, geographical areas, decades, generations,
  • Consider the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s...

American Dream from Ian Ruhter : Alchemist on Vimeo.

Suggested Resources:
you might consider Googling "the American Dream" for a definition to get started
Does the American Dream exist? (includes an interesting video)
What is the dream? (video)
The American Dream ideas
An interview about the American Dream
what is the American Dream?
What is the American Dream?
symbols of America

This is the assignment due Tuesday

American Dream Writing Creative Writing Assignment (quality expected)

  1. As an individual you will compose a creative writing response to the American Dream:
  2. Directions (350+ to 500 max word response)

American Dream Group Multimedia Project (we are not doing this one)

For your project, you will use historical, social, and literary commentary to help define and defend your American Dream.
  1. For your group (4 max) task, you will be researching and analyzing the American dream through history up to the 21st century. Through your research and literature selections, you will create a claim: What is the American Dream for the 21st century? Does it exist? What are the tenets? Is it generational? Are there limits? How can you prove/defend your claim? What evidence can you find from scholarly/academic sources to prove your claim?
  2. first I suggest you define the American Dream in your group by using research material: watch videos, read scholarly articles, review historical documents (suggested resources listed below)
  3. Write your claim: a well developed, confident, thesis statement
  4. How will you prove/defend your claim: Use the research and the literature
  5. Use a minimum of 3 American literary selections & 4 academic research sources. The literature should be American, but feel free to use literature that you've read on your own (make sure it is literary and meritable)
  6. then I would suggest your group synthesize the material you've collected; decide how you will use the literature and the research to compose your multimedia project and convey your claim of the American Dream.
  7. Next I suggest you decide on your media components and begin the process of developing your multimedia
  8. You must show a historical progression as well as a literary progression.
  9. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE any information from the Internet (copy & pasting). If in doubt, cite it.
  10. Your final component will be a multimedia delivery
  11. title your multimedia presentation (connect to your overall theme, claim)
  12. academically appropriate, scholarly tone
  13. use images, voiceovers, music, interviews, other media
  14. Multimedia delivery: iMovie, MovieMaker, PhotoStory, Prezi, other.
  15. 5-8 minutes
  16. works cited required: everything you use must be on the works cited (images, quotes, music, writing, interviews...)
  • Explain the title to your presentation (must be unique and justified to your project)
  • one group member should open the presentation and state the roles of your group members
  • one group member should deliver an introduction to your multimedia presentation: what did you do? How? why? what was the process?
  • one group member should close the presentation with a final statement(s) and ask for questions.