Student 1 :Viviana Vega
What I found to be interesting from our weeks reading is that one’s own perception of the American dream differs person to person. Emerson has a broad understand of what he believed the American Dream to be. He frequently mentions that “man” should do this and “man” should do that. His idea, in my opinion, were based more on morals which would eventually aide in establishing or seeking the American Dream. Kemp, I found to use points of interest and society involvement as a way to dictate the American Dream. Kemp refers to the highlights and low points to prove how an American dream can be attained.
Emerson I feel had a genuine, more humble approach as to what is expected to attain the ultimate dream. Emerson writes, ”Greatness is a property from which no man can receive credit too soon; it must be possessed long before it is acknowledged.” This quote makes me think of ones own dreams and inspirations should be the driving force.
Kemp writes,”Nothing reinforced the seductive pull of the new, suburbanized American Dream more than the burgeoning medium of television..” This section of aparagraph I feel sums up what I wastrying to explain as the difference of mindsets between these two writers. Nonetheless, Kemp’s idea is very valid. We are living in a society where in order to achieve more oradvance more in life, we must be aware of our surroundingsand have an idea of what will work in our lives.
Emerson may think that Kemps’s emphasis on society is taking away from the dream that brought upon the American Dream. Emerson would be correct in saying this, except he would not be able to relate with today’s society and one’s way of life in this century. The idea of wanting more and better is relatively the same, except the mindset has changed.
Student 2 :Leonard Posa
After reading Ralph Emersons Self-reliance, I was really impressed by his work. Some of his quotes really got caught in my mind and made me think a little bit about myself and the world around me. Definitely one of the most interesting things he said was Thrust thyself, short and simple. I totally agree with this. I think what he is trying to say is that we must not allow anyone else to say what we are supposed to think, feel or do. Our choices are supposed to come from ourselves and no one can tell us what is the right thing to do except for us. We need to trust ourselves to make the right decisions and we need to believe in ourselves. I think that is the key to success. Otherwise, if we dont thrust ourselves, Emerson says that we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another. I think that what he is trying to say is that if we take someone elses opinion over ours, we are underrating ourselves and we dont value ourselves enough. What do you guys think about this quote? Do you think its better to always trust ourselves or sometimes we need to take someone elses opinion over ours?
But, on the other hand I have a feeling that David Kamp proposes the completely opposite thing in Rethinking the American Dream . He says that Americans are living the reverse of what the American Dream should be. He compares the American Dream in the 1940s and today. Today is much harder to achieve something in life, mostly because of how bad the economy became. Today, you need to work much harder in order to gain a little bit of success, and what Kamp says, is that we need to lower our expectations and not shoot too high in the sky. He gives a great example. Someones dream is to become a singer. They go to American Idol, and they find out the terrible truth that they dont have what it takes to be a singer. I think that this completely shoots down Emersons quote to always thrust thyself. I think about it this way, that same singer that goes to American Idol and gets his dreams crushed by someone else saying: You dont got it, you are terrible, you are not talented. We can easily say that this singer has thrusted himself and he thought he was a good singer, but at the end he failed, because someone else told him that he is not good. This made me realize that we cant always thrust ourselves, not in all situations at least. But I still think that we should at least try, and if we fail, we just need to continue our road.
What were your favorite quotes in these two writings? What were the things that gained your interest and made you think a little bit? I would love to hear your opinions!
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