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Extract from the American novelist John Jakes's American Dreams

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This extract from the American novelist John JAKES'S American Dreams published in 1998 is entitled " Plans " because it's a dialogue between a father and his daughter in which she lets him know about her plans to go to NY.

The scene is set in Chicago, Illanois, in the early 20th century.

The protagonists are Fritzi CROWN, 25, and her father Joe who belongs to a family of German immigrants and and built a brewing empire.

The text can be perceived as a challenge to paternal authority but also as an opposition between tradition and modernity.

I/ A challenge to paternal authority

A. Fritzi breaks the news to her father that she wants to go to Broadway to become an actress.

--> Cf ll 9,12 and 38

B. Joe crown is first astonished, then stunned and outraged by his daughter's plans.

--> LL 10, 11, 16 17 and l 37.

C. He didn't except her to be so brave and determined

--> ll 22,23 and 25

D. He resents her attitude. He would like her to be submissive and obedient

--> Cf ll 19-20, 27, 34

E. So, we may say Fritzi dares to stand up to her father, she doesn't obey him

--> Cf ll 26 and 36

Transition : " The challenge to his authority " ( 31 ) mirrors an opposition between tradition and modernity.

II/ The oppostion between tradition and modernity

A. All the way Joe appears to be a paragon of tradition --> ll 19-20/3-5/48-49

B. He believes NY is a wretched place.

--> Cf ll 27-28/ 33-34

C. But Fritzi wants to be on an equal footing with her brother and doesn't want to be discriminated against. She wants to assert her personality and rights --> ll 29-30.


To put it in a nutshell, Fritzi has got nerve, she is straightforwads and speaks her mind.

She is an independent woman who fights against her father's prejudices.

She is also the symbol of women's liberation.


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