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We have read selected texts in Signs of Life in the USA, examining the paradoxes found of American culture.
Objectives: For this assignment, we will explore the signs of American values that reveal contradictions in our
society and reveal the cultural phenomena while predicting how these phenomena will shape the future for our
society. We will synthesize the readings to create and argument that develops our critical thinking.
Prompt: Using at least 3 texts that we have read and discussed in class for this third unit, as well as your own
personal experience and observations respond to the following.
Where do you see contradictions in the American culture and what does this contradiction say
about who are as a nation, a society, a people?
To support your findings, you will use:
1. 3 texts we have read and discussed in our textbook for this unit:
a. Ehrenreich, Lee, Watkins, Mason, Fleishman, Tankersley, Corbett, Graham, and/or Pollan
2. your own experiences and observations from the commercials and/or print ads you have seen, social
media posts you have written or read, supermarkets you have visited, products you have looked at or
purchased, film/TV shows you have watched, to the ideologies you hold dear/have witnessed
3. artifacts from our popular culture to further support your ideas/points, such as social media posts,
commercials/ads, descriptions of products or supermarket pastorals, film/TV shows, music, books,
news media, or other forms of popular culture that illustrate an American paradox in popular culture
that relates to your topic
Some contradictions we explored in Signs of Life in the USA are:
1. Contradiction of American optimism
2. Contradiction of social media activism
3. Contradiction of America’s angry mood reflected in popular culture
4. Contradiction of Americans anger toward the upper middle class
5. Contradiction of industrialism of organic food
6. Contradiction of nature and advertising
7. Contradiction of products and their meanings
Directions: This essay will follow the general structure of an introduction with a clearly stated thesis statement,
body, and conclusion. When citing the authors from the textbook, be sure to adequately introduce the text(s) you
will be using to support your points by author’s full name, title of work in quotations, and a brief summary of
the text as it relates to the quoted passage. Use proper in-text citations for textual support and format the essay
using MLA guidelines that includes a works cited page for all borrowed material. For your works cited page,
cite the essays we have read from our textbook as well as any outside source you used.