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Myths and heroes : The American dream

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Par   •  12 Janvier 2020  •  Synthèse  •  1 166 Mots (5 Pages)  •  612 Vues

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Notion 1

Myths and heroes : The American dream


  1. What is a myth and what is it for (Why do nation need myths?)

A myth is a fictional story.

It keeps the nation together.

It builds a common identity

Myth is based on historical story, but they are transformed.

  1. What myths made America?

Many myths compose a common identity in order to keep the nation together.

The pilgrims went to the new world

(myth) = In god we trust (god bless the US)

                 Working is a way to serve god

  • Document 1 : (cartoon) A brief History of the US



-They were freaked out

-They were scared by

-They were afraid of

-Frightened by

-Didn’t feel safe

The pilgrims went to the new world to escape/ flee persecution. But they persecuted too: they killed the native American , stacked a witch hunt and imported slave from Africa.

. They needed guns to became independent from the British and to fight: during the civil war.

. They created the NRA to keep their guns and the KKK because they were afraid of the blacks.

. With ML King, the civil rights movements helped the Blacks to fight for their rights.

America is paradoxical.

  • On the one hand, it is based on freedom.
  • On the other hand, there is racism and intolerance.

1775 : War of Independence

1836 : Samuel Colt: 1st Weapon

1871 : KKK declared illegal

1955 : rosa Parks (a black woman refused to move to the black of bus.

  • God Guns and Guts

What’s striking is that guns are associated with God.

But Religion is supposed to be non-violent

It plays a significant/ major role in America society:

  • They swear on the bible
  • The dollar bible
  • The end of a speech

Document 2 :(2 paintings) American Gothic by Grand Wood

                                                America by John Gast

  1. American Gothic by Grand Wood

This is a painting by Grand Wool, painted in 1830

It shows a couple of puritan farmers in rural.

What is striking, is that they look very strick.

The pitchfork embodies the work ethic.

On the one hand, it could glorify America.

On the other hand, it is a satirical painting. 

                                  It makes fun of : puritan’s farmer

                                                                Traditional society

                                                                American’s couple

  1. American progress by John Gast

It is a painting by John Gast; intituled American progress.

What is striking is the sharp contrast btw light and darkness.

The Angel embodies / stands for America bringing progress.

It refers to the wild west but also the fact that America wants to rule / civilize the world.

The uuie and the book stand for progress.

It refears to the wild west.

N-A are running away.

American wants to rule the world (imperialism)

American qualities Evoque:

  • Determined
  • Efficient
  • Self-reliant

  1. What does the American dream?

What is the American dream?

The American Dream is the ideal that the government should protect each person's opportunity to pursue their own idea of happiness.

It means that, through honest hard work you can become whatever you dream

  • wherever you come from
  • No matter where you come from
  • By working hard

American Dream means:


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