American Dream

Analysis of the American Dream in art:

For this assignment, you should discuss the representation of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby and the film The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Through an evaluation of these two sources, you will need to address the following:

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How has the American Dream changed over time?

How does the artist deconstruct the American Dream (show it to be an illusion)?

Are there tensions or contradictions in the artist’s message?

What is relevant about each artist’s critique of the American Dream? What is not so relevant?

If you are writing about film, you will want to use at least two terms in the film glossary (will be provided).

You will be graded on the strength of your analysis, your ability to develop your ideas through textual evidence, organization of your ideas, the clarity of your prose, and your adherence to MLA conventions, which include grammar.

SUGGESTED STRUCTURE

Introduction:

-Introduce reader to your topic (Art as a critique of the American Dream). You may want to reference James Truslow’s definition of the American Dream in The Epic of America.

-Introduce reader to your primary sources (Great Gatsby & film or song). Reader should know when Gatsby was written and set and what it was about. If you are writing about film, the director’s name should be mentioned, along with a summary of the movie, which you should clarify is an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s 2006 novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

-Thesis statement: should address how the Dream has changed over time and the relevance of each artistic representation of the American Dream to today’s world.

*After you finish writing the essay, you want to go back and revise your thesis statement.

Paragraph 1:

-Historical context of The Great Gatsby: You will want to discuss the 1920s were like in New York City; the economic boom before the Depression; the effects of the Prohibition (bootlegging industry), and the flouting of conventional gender norms (eg, the flapper). While you are focusing on historical background of the novel, make the connection with the novel’s representation of the American Dream clear.

Paragraph 2 & 3:

-How does Fitzgerald deconstruct the American Dream? Pay close attention to specific scenes or passages in the text; integrate quotes when necessary.

Paragraph 4:

Tensions & contradictions in Fitzgerald’s message. You might want to reference Barbara Wills’ article here.

Paragraphs 5 & 6-

Relevance & irrelevance of Fitzgerald’s critique of the American Dream

Paragraph 7:

-Historical context of ___________ (second source)

Paragraph 8 & 9:

How does artist deconstruct the American Dream? Pay close attention to specific scenes from film or music video.

Paragraphs 10:

Tensions and contradictions in second artist’s message

Paragraph 11 & 12:

Relevance & irrelevance of second artist’s critique of the American Dream:

Conclusions/Evaluation of evidence:

-How has American Dream changed over time, as revealed through a comparison of the two sources?

-Put the sources into a dialogue with each other. How might The Great Gatsby have influenced the artist’s critique of the American Dream in_________ (second source)? How has the artist you have chosen “updated” The Great Gatsby to reflect our times? How has the artist you have chosen made central a theme that is marginal in The Great Gatsby?

Use these as sources

American Dream? Or Mirage?

http://archive.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2011/03/31/the_new_american_dream/

(can you find the movie? i watched but I cant just put the link)

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