Powerpoint adapted by Suzanne Conti
• Land of Opportunity
• Rags to Riches—Anyone can become rich,
famous, and powerful.
• Jobs and education are available to all who
• Meritocracy (rewards) = skill + effort.
• Through hard work, courage and
determination, one can achieve prosperity.
Americans can live better than their parents
Emma Lazarus is best known for "The New
Colossus", a sonnet written in 1883; its lines appear on a bronze
plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1912.
• "Give me your tired, your poor, Your
huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming
shore, Send these, the
• homeless, tempest-tossed
• to me, I lift my lamp beside
• the golden door!"
Coming to America
• America is called the “Melting Pot”
because of the immigration here from all
over the world. Even though immigrants
spoke different languages, had different
cultures, and held different beliefs, the one
thing they all had in common was to
pursue the “American Dream”…life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness.
• The American Dream is
the dream of a land where
all people can succeed
through hard work. It is
also an idea that suggests
that all people have the
potential to live happy,
• Let’s view a few video’s about the
• Originally, the focus was on hard
work and religious freedom. Today,
however, the focus seems to be on
material prosperity and fame.
• The American Dream is deeply
rooted in American society.
• Several critics have pointed out
that this dream is not attainable to
all because of the inequality rooted
in class, race and ethnic origin.
• The phrase “The American Dream” came into the
American vocabulary starting in 1867 when writer,
Horatio Alger came out with his book “Ragged
Dick.” It was a rags-to-riches tale of a poor
orphan boy in New York City who saved his
pennies, worked hard and eventually became rich.
• It became the model that through honesty, hard
work and strong determination, the American
Dream was available to anyone willing to make the
• “If one advances confidently in the
direction of his dreams, and endeavors to
live the life which he has imagined, he will
meet with a success unexpected in
- Henry David Thoreau
Arnold was born to a police officer and housewife in Austria, and
later emigrated to the U.S. speaking no English He went to
community college and started acting. Now he is a multi-
millionaire, married into one of the most elite families in
America—the Kennedys, and is governor of CA. He has said “In
this country, it doesn't make any difference where you were
born. It doesn't make any difference who your parents were. It
doesn't make any difference if, like me, you couldn't even speak
English until you were in your twenties.”
Ralph Lauren—maker of Polo; son
of Russian immigrants who became
a fashion mogul billionaire, started
working in his teens to buy
Oprah, raised by her grandmother in
rural poor Mississippi, is a billionaire
with a book club, television show,
several charities, and many other
Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the
U.S., was famous for his Witicisms and for
discovering electricity using a kite. He was
born the son of a candle maker (one of 17
children) and came to stand before kings
and Presidents. He is also on our $100 bill.
Finally, Tei Fu Chen is a Taiwanese
immigrant who went from living in his car to
building a billion-dollar herbal foods empire.
The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 by
The general sentiment is that people are better
off than their parents and that it is possible to
start out poor and work hard to become rich.
“We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these
are Life, Liberty, and the
Pursuit of Happiness”
It all begins with a Dream . . .
• You see things
and say, “Why?”
But I dream
things that never
were and I say,
• ~George Bernard Shaw
Chinese Stowaways die while
trying to enter the U.S.
Or, a Tale of Two Cities?
Before we assemble into groups
to determine the “American
Dream”… let’s watch a few
videos that show China trying to
live the “American Dream”.
Let’s read an article about Do We Need $75,000 a Year to Be Happy?
By Belinda Luscombe Monday, Sep. 06, 2010
Let’s read an article about
Let’s answer some questions…..
1. Define: benchmark, Nobel Prize, adversities, temperament, plausible, expendable, citizenries
2. What is the difference between the two types of happiness described in the article? Why do you think we are capable of
these two different feelings?
3. “Having money clearly takes the sting out of adversities.” What adversities have you been through? Would more money
have helped make your life better during those adversities?
4. What are some possessions that are important to people? Try to think of how much things cost. Do you think that at $75,000
people can have everything that they really need to live well?
5. Have you ever felt “deeper satisfaction…about the way your life is going”? What are the sources of that feeling? Are they
based on comparisons with other people?
6. When you are an adult, do you think money will indicate to you how your life is going? If not, what will?
7. When people take jobs that pay more than $75,000, are they doing so to obtain more possessions?
8. If people stopped caring about overall life satisfaction, would they continue to pursue jobs that paid more than $75,000?
9. Besides making money, what else does the desire for deeper satisfaction with how life is going motivate people to do?
10. Besides material well-being and overall satisfaction, are there any other motives for living life in certain ways?
How accurate is the “American Dream”?
You will work in groups of 3-5 to decide:
*What does the “American Dream” mean in today's
world? Is it the same for all Americans? Is it a
myth? Is it simply a quest for a better life?
*Why do some see their dreams fulfilled, and others
see their dreams wither and die?
*How has the “American Dream” changed over
*What factors affect these major events in history
(political, economic, educational, social, etc.)?
* What is your personal “American Dream”? What
is your groups personal dream, as a whole?
*You will work in a team of 3-5 members, working together to
come up with a definition for “The American Dream”.
*Your group will write your finalized definition as a “mission
*Each member will choose a different venue to reveal your
groups “American Dream” statement (see handout for
*Each group will unite venues to create a PowerPoint
presentation, and upload it to edmodo.com.
*Each group will present their interpretation of the “American
Dream” to the class, reflecting on the group’s interpretation and
each individuals personal dream.
***This activity will continue throughout the reading of the play, “A Raisin in the Sun”.
“American Dream” Project
This will be an ongoing project throughout our reading of “A Raisin in the Sun”.
This is your groups’ job…
Handout and information on how to use animoto, photostory, and voki
is also listed at the wikispaces link below:
This is a sample animoto I created…
This project must be completed and submitted to edmodo.com PRIOR to the
conclusion of the class reading of the play, “A Raisin in the Sun”. See the
Class period edmodo submission group code (located on board).
Upon completion and presentation, other groups, as well as the presenting group
will peer/self evaluate the projects, utilizing forms handed out on the day of
All presentation “How To’s” and samples can be found at
Have Fun! Be Creative and demonstrate Critical Thinking….
Powerpoint found on Internet/adapted by Suzanne Conti
Project found at http://online.sfsu.edu/~kferenz/syllabus/dreams and
adapted by Suzanne Conti
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