American Dream

Please view Gad Elmaleh’s American Dream on Netflix

Identify one quote from American Dream that stands out to you. This quote is what could be called a flashpoint. A flashpoint is “a quote that resonates with you, that reflects a moment of high interest in the text. It’s not so much a ‘main idea’ as it is something that provokes you, that challenges your previous assumptions, that encourages new thinking (and writing!) about a topic or an event or phenomenon.” Write about a flashpoint/quote along with a brief reflection on why it is meaningful. This should be one paragraph.

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Please identify one rhetorical strategy in “Bootstraps” (attached below) that you found effective and provide a few examples from the text. When including textual citations, please refer to MLA’s style for in text citations. This should also be a paragraph.

Listen to this podcast called Three Miles: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/550/three-miles you can write a reflection about “Three Miles” or you can use one of the questions below.

1. Why did Melanie drop out of school? What reasons does she give? Why do you think she dropped out of high school? Why didn’t she go to college? Should she have? Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dream for more details.

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2. How did the Fieldston visit impact Raquel? What are some of the difficulties Raquel experienced in college? Name some resources that are available at St. John’s to address some of the challenges Raquel experienced.

3. Raquel, Melanie, Jonathan, and Pablo all describe what is called imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome “is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud.’” Talk about how imposter syndrome impacts each of these people.

4. Chanah Joffe-Walt is the narrator and the reporter for this story. She says:

“I met Melanie in November, and I still call her most weeks just to say, so what happened– with your dentist, with your grades, with that meeting with your professor? I keep expecting there to be news, like she’s about to get her big break or something and things will happen for her. It feels suspenseful, but nothing has happened for her for 10 years.

I think it’s some special brand of American pathological optimism that so many of us believe the story of Melanie has to turn out to be happy. And that if it doesn’t, something unusual has happened– and not just this is what happens all the time, that the supermarket might be full of Melanies.”

What are your thoughts on the framing of this story and also these last lines?

5. Discuss Jonathan’s story as a group. What were the obstacles he faced at Wheaton College? Why didn’t he reach out for help? Who could he have reached out to? Why do you think his relationship with Raquel ended?

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