Assignment 1: Topic The American Dream : focusing on a Thesis.

Assignment 1:  Topic The American Dream : focusing on a Thesis. 

Post on Blackboard Discussions by Wednesday June 24

Learning module 1 : The Thesis  (also sometimes called a Thesis Statement)

DIRECTIONS: 1. read an article on the American Dream. 2. Watch “Point Taken,” a segment on a debate of the American Dream. 3. Write a short response and post on Black board Discussions. 


Skills to learn and demonstrate:

In this learning module, you will review what a thesis is by reading  one of the articles  below and finding the thesis in the article. YOU WILL THEN WRITE A SHORT RESPONSE THAT RESTATES THE THESIS OF THE ARTICLE OF CHOICE AND INCLUDES A SUMMARY OF THE MAIN IDEAS OF POINT TAKEN, THE VIDEO SEGMENT:

Let’s review what a thesis is. A thesis is the biggest idea, the main idea and the strongest point that a writer wants to make.  The thesis drives an article, book chapter or essay   in the sense that all the other information fleshes out the thesis in body paragraphs each of which each of which carry their own main idea; however, the thesis is the biggest over- arching idea for the whole essay or article or chapter. So in an essay, which is what you really want to focus on , all the other paragraphs may have a different point to make but they are still connected to the thesis.  In a way you can say that your thesis is the strongest and the most compelling idea that you want the reader to think about. The thesis can start with an opinion statement it can be a perspective or it could be a point that you want to argue if you are arguing a point then that would lead into a argumentative essay or a persuasive essay but you can also have a thesis that is not an argument but is an overall statement that you wish to make about a topic that focuses in on a very specific point and then the rest of your essay will exemplify it explain it analyze it use comparison and contrast and of course integrate other sources. So when you write an argumentative or persuasive essay, your essay is going to be centered around making the reader see your point, understand it, and hopefully agree with it.  If you are writing an essay that analyzes a situation your thesis introduces the main point of what you want to  focus on and the rest of your essay will provide details and further explanation and analysis of  your thesis. 

Below is a summary of what have explained as two types of a thesis:

1. A thesis that  presents an argument in a  persuasive essay, followed with “evidence” in the essay  (or other type of writing  such as article or book chapter) to prove the strongest point. 

 2. A  thesis that  presents the strongest point of a chosen topic to analyze in the essay and add in  evidence to support claims.

(In Learning module 2, we will discuss what a “claim”  is and “evidence”). 

Both types of essay,  Persuasive/ Argumentative or Analytical  use critical thinking. Now for critical thinking— if you want more information look at the side bar panel and there is information on what critical thinking is if you need a refresher;  however,  I think most of you know what  critical thinking is.  In short,  as I indicated above and adding a little more to the idea, it is analyzing the situation from multiple standpoints or positions; it is investigating an idea a theory or a specific theme and then using analytic tools such as comparison contrast, quotes from reliable sources, other kinds of evidence such as reliable news stories, illustrations, graphs, and really looking deeply into a situation. In short using critical thinking and writing is to go deep and not just stay at the superficial level. I will be presenting numerous examples throughout the semester. 

So to summarize in this learning module you are going to read one article  and  view  the first 15 minutes of Point Taken –a debate about the American Dream. Then you are going to identify a thesis in the article that you choose and write a short response that includes stating whether you think the thesis is convincing or persuasive.  Add in some information from Point Taken. 

 PREVIEWING: WATCH THE PBS DEBATE ON THE AMERICAN DREAM: Is the American Dream Alive or Dead-  Point Taken PBS-


a 4-5 paragraph response to one of the NY Times articles on the American Dream, and including the debate on the American Dream on Point Taken. Combine both topics in your response.

Here are the links to articles.

What is the thesis of the article you choose — choose only ONE  article, not all 3. Is the “thesis” of the article persuasive? Is the evidence factual or convincing? Consider these questions when you write your response. Include your ideas as well.

The articles below are also ones you can choose for your assignment for instant access.But hey are already several years old. So you can also consider what has dramatticly changed since then.

The Upshot

The Transformation of the ‘American Dream’

Economic View


Katherine Lam

“The American Dream is back.” President Trump made that claim in a speech in January.

They are ringing words, but what do they mean? Language is important, but it can be slippery. Consider that the phrase, the American Dream, has changed radically through the years.

Mr. Trump and Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, have suggested it involves owning a beautiful home and a roaring business, but it wasn’t always so. Instead, in the 1930s, it meant freedom, mutual respect and equality of opportunity. It had more to do with morality than material success.

This drift in meaning is significant, because the American Dream — and international variants like the Australian Dream , Le Rêve Français and others — represents core values. In the United States, these values affect major government decisions on housing, regulation and mortgage guarantees, and millions of private choices regarding whether to start a business, buy an ostentatious home or rent an apartment.

Conflating the American dream with expensive housing has had dangerous consequences: It may have even contributed to the last housing bubble, the one that led to the financial crisis of 2008-9.

These days, Mr. Trump is using the hallowed phrase in pointed ways. In his January speech, he framed the slogan as though it were an entrepreneurial aspiration. “We are going to create an environment for small business like we haven’t seen in many many decades,” he said, adding, “So, essentially, we are getting rid of regulations to a massive extent, could be as much as 75 percent.”  

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