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Spaces and exchanges : is the American Dream a myth of a reality ?

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Spaces and exchanges

    This year in class, we talked about space and exchanges and we especially illustrated these ideas with the example of the immigrants coming to the USA. First of all I am going to give a definition of exchange; it’s a continuous movement or circulation. It includes all types of exchanges: people, trade or media. For me Space concerns the geographical and symbolic places that are occupied by people around the world. The concept «Spaces and Exchanges» illustrates the themes of the discovery of new space so it implies the discovery of new territories. It is a way to unify people. Is the American dream myth or a reality? In a first part, we will talk about the American dream, and show that the immigration helped the US to become a powerful country. In a second part, we will show that the American dream can only be a myth.

    In my mind, the best documents to illustrate the notion of the American Dream are “I wasn’t unwelcomed” by Chang Rae Lee and “I still believe in the American Dream” by Fareed Zakaria. Because both documents deal with the notion of the American dream which is defined in a social promotion and a perfect integration. Indeed, the double negation in “I wasn’t unwelcomed” means Doctor Hata was welcomed and he thought to be excluded because of his origins. Doctor Hata as well as the Indian prominent journalist is privileged, they are well-educated immigrants, which made their social ascent easier and faster. In “I wasn’t unwelcomed”, the narrator is from Asia but he is living thirty-odd years in the same place, in Bedley Run, not far from New York City. He was welcomed by the community and became familiar in the neighborhood. He is famous because when they meet him at the shop in the main part of the village, someone automatically recognizes him. One differs from the other because Dr Hata is focusing on his own experience as an Asian immigrant, whereas Fareed Zakaria is giving a painting of the economic and historical US setting. All around the world, America is seen as a country of opportunities: the brain drain allowed the smartest people to work in the Silicon Valley near San Francisco (for technology). America gives anyone the chance to start out a new business and bring out new ideas to the market.

     Actually they all hope to live the American dream at all costs in the USA even if it means to cross the line of legality. The USA is commonly referred to as the “melting pot”, which is a metaphor that shows what a multi-cultural country America is. Many immigrants cross the border between the USA and Mexico with no authorization in order to get a job to give themselves or their children the opportunity of studying and reach a better and more comfortable life. Even with a wall, which separates both countries, and a lot of soldiers to monitor the passage, Mexican immigrants still find ways to cross it. The trip is very dangerous and a lot of people find death before the destination. The big concentration of Mexican immigrants in the USA has allowed the creation of mixed traditions between both countries. Indeed, in California most people speak what we call the “Spanglish” which is a language where you can use Spanish words and transform them into the English forms. In Texas, you can also eat “TexMex” which is a mix of the food from Texas and Mexico; it’s very famous in this region. The document “I wasn’t unwelcomed” shows us a successful integration, but would it be the same if the immigrant had come from another place in the world? To my opinion if he was Arabic or Hispanic, maybe he wouldn’t be welcomed. The successful integration may come from the origin of Doctor Hata, because he is from Japan, which is a developed country. It also depends on the city where he immigrates. For example if he had immigrated to California or Texas, maybe he would have been unwelcomed. Even though the USA was for a long time a country of immigrants, now restrictive laws made it harder and harder to enter the country legally. Citizenship comes with the “green card”, which is the official paper according permanent residence in the USA. For few, integration was easy and they feel accepted and welcomed in the USA. They found jobs and had the life they always dreamed of, we can say that they realized their American Dream.


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