American Cultural Myths Essays

American Cultural Myths Essays

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The United States and cultural myths pertaining to this country have been a topic of discussion for many years. Stephanie Coontz’s “The Way We Wish We Were”, David Brooks’ “One Nation Slightly Divisible” and Margaret Atwood’s “A Letter to America” are all essays about different American cultural myths. Each author focuses on a different cultural myth that pertains to the United States. They explain how these myths are thwarting a realistic view of America. As well as changing the perception of the country as a whole. The major cultural myths of America among the texts are about “ideal families”, “ideal lifestyles, and a “ideal country.”
Many couples in the United States idealize the myth of a “tradition family”. The idea that a woman can spend quality time with her child while maintaining an effective sexual life with her partner seemed to have caused a lot of stress during the 1950s. Coontz’s says “this hybrid idea drove thousands of women to therapists, tranquilizers, or alcohol when they tried to live up to it.” (Coontz, 569). Which explains that it is merely impossible to try to mold a family to be “ideal.” Many families still strive for a traditional life, which they define as life “back in the day.” They need to forget the past and start living in the 21st century. “Two-thirds of respondents to one national poll said they wanted more traditional standards of family life.”(Coontz, 582). Which goes to show that many families want to change to what once used to be perceived as an “ideal family” but “the same percentage of people rejected the idea that women should return to their traditional role.”(Coontz, 582). Families want to take bits and pieces from what used to be “traditional families” over time and create their own i...


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...United States once had amongst the world has lessened, which is also why seeing America as an ideal country would be thwarting a realistic view of the country. If the United States just takes a step back from trying to be the most dominant country, it can regain its status among other nations.
Stephanie Coontz’s, David Brook’s, and Margaret Atwood all discuss American cultural myths in their respective essays “The Way We Wish We Were,” “One Nation, Slightly Divisible,” and “A Letter to America.” All three authors elaborate on specific cultural myths, whether it is about an ideal family, an ideal lifestyle, or an ideal country as a whole. As a result of analyzing the three texts, it is clear that the authors critique Americas image in their own was. As well as elaborate on why the realistic view of the United States is being squelched by major cultural myths.



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