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An outline of how the American Dream is interpreted in texts 2, 3 and 4.
In the texts “Arnold Schwarzenegger Recalls Lessons From 25 Years as a U.S Citizen – Learn English, Participate in Politics, and Give Back” by Arnold Schwarzenegger (2), “Whose American Dream Is It, Anyway?” by Anja Kamenetz (3) and “Is the American Dream Still Possible?” by Davis Wallenchinsky (4), the writers deliberate their views of the American Dream.
In text 2, Arnold Schwarzenegger voices his opinion on how immigrants “ought to” contribute to the country that let them aspire to higher things than what they initially had, which is seen here: “It is not enough to come here and take the best this nation has to offer without giving something back. To truly succeed as an American citizen, you have to do more”. Here he also indirectly states that one will implement the American Dream by being determined on working vigorously, and assimilating himself to the American society. Thus far it’s apparent that this text doesn’t concern materialistic objects, but rather supporting one another.
In contrast to Schwarzenegger, Anja Kamenetz, who authored text 3, makes a point of money-oriented possessions. She expresses her stance on the American Dream, and how it’s “taking a turn for the worse”, as follows: “(…) if the American Dream was, if not dead, then at least wounded”.
Kamentz postulates that the “new” American Dream is a hindrance to realise the American Dream. She says: “(…) our country has long since passed the point where adding more income and more stuff will make us happier. (…) there is little correlation between wealth and happiness”. She states that the Americans scarcely make time for family, because the parents must work day in and day out in order to purchase the latest must-haves, in other words, electronics, properties and cars; the “new” American Dream, for example: “(…) don’t want to fall into the “two income-trap”, where both partners work more and more hours (…)”.
The author of text 4 Davis Wallenchinsky, also emphasises this. He says that the ideal American Dream is to “(…) pay monthly bills without worry, give their children a start to an even better life and still save enough to live comfortably after they retire”. But this dream exerts many Americans, because they have to devote almost all of their time to increasing their remuneration, and the reason being is that they want their children to make the most of life, as seen here: “I’m putting it all into the kids, so that they can succeed in life”.
In brief, Arnold Schwarzenegger believes that by helping and supporting others – not only through government subsidies – one will have a bigger chance at flourishing, which is the American Dream according to Schwarzenegger. Meanwhile Wallenschinsky and Kamenetz, have critical views of the American Dream. They state that many Americans live by the phrase “life is what you make of it”, but the American Dream doesn’t let them forge their lives, because it entails that they work beyond their own abilities.
Compare language, tone and style in texts 1 and 2.
The texts “What Is the American Dream?” a background essay from The Library of Congress Learning Page (1) and “Arnold Schwarzenegger Recalls Lessons From 25 Years as a U.S Citizen – Learn English, Participate in Politics, and Give Back” by Arnold Schwarzenegger (2), are narrated differently in terms of language, tone and style, which we are to compare.
Authors use different ways to enunciate their views, and therefore they create distinctive connotations and tones. For instance, text 1 is written formally. The vocabulary is very advanced, and the sentences are quite long; e.g.: “(…) fortuitous circumstances of birth or position”.
It can be “arduous” to comprehend the meaning of this text, because it isn’t something you’d typically say. Whereas the other text by Arnold Schwarzenegger is written neutrally/colloquially (spoken English), with fairly short sentences, as seen here; “I came here for my shot at the American Dream”. This is something you would typically say to someone. Thus making text 1 solemn and thoroughly thought out, while text 2 is lucid/legible and frank.
Furthermore text 1 is impartial, and the writer engages the reader in the text. He says: “Might this sentiment be considered the foundation of the American Dream?”. He makes the reader ponder on the question, and therefore he involves him/her, which also makes the style a bit personal. Moreover this text is informative and intellectual, because he articulates the conclusion at the beginning, which is the ideal American Dream according to historian James Truslow Adams, and then he expounds the conclusion. The reader will “only” be able to comprehend the meaning, if he/she cogitates on the text. Thus the use of logos is prevalent, because he uses the historian as an example, but this also makes his statements plausible; ethos.
The writer also uses many adjectives and adverbs, such as: merely, fulfilling, mistrustful etc. This makes the background essay convoluted, but it indicates linguistic/language proficiency.
In text 2, the use of pathos is manifest, because the article is subjective, and Schwarzenegger frequently uses normal word order, like “I understand (…)”, “I was (…)”, which are active sentences – though this makes the text seem enumerating. Yet this reaches the reader on a personal level, because it’s directed towards the reader’s feelings, e.g. “I came here in 1968 speaking only a little English”. This also shows that Schwarzenegger engages the reader in the text, because the audience will identify with him.
Logos and ethos are also prevalent, for instance: “Albert Einstein also came here from Germany”. Here Schwarzenegger uses well-known people to substantiate his view, which creates logos. He says: “With hard work and determination, and because the American people were so generous and welcoming, I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams”. Here he uses himself as an example, but it’s evident that the Americans were there to fortify and aid him, which led him to succeed in life – which is the American Dream. This creates ethos, because he experienced that himself.
To summarise, both texts manage to reach their readers through the forms of appeal, and the style. Text 1 has a neutral tone that is framed formally through a large vocabulary, which makes it a bit stodgy, because not everyone will be able to apprehend the text. Meanwhile Arnold Schwarzenegger has a clear optimistic attitude towards the American Dream, and he really gets his message through, because the text is very patent.