class of April 1st, 2016




16th century:  English adventurers and colonists hoping for wealth and glory

17th century: Pilgrims (first settlers) desiring the establishment of a New Jerusalem.

18th century: (Irish: big famine) Religious minorities seeking freedom from oppression; people seeking freedom to farm and to escape European feudal society.

19th century: The USA expands westwards and offers unlimited possibilities to new immigrants; people are able to realize their full potential regardless of their socio-economic and ethnic background. (independence; growth)

20th century: There was no more open space to be conquered. The American dream had to be redefined and new frontiers in the sense of challenges (e.g. space, overcoming inequality; fighting for a better society) were sought. (wars, economy, …)


Dubious of: sceptical of (2nd paragraph)

Act of depending on oneself: self-reliance (2nd paragraph)

Typical of: characteristic of (4th paragraph)


American Dream: the dream of a land of plenty and a land in which people are able to realize their full potential, regardless of their socio-economic and ethnic background.

Baseball: the ultimate american sports, famous and popular in the whole country (but not very successfull outside the US)

Cars (Thunderbird, Mustang)

Frontier: the moving borderline between civilization and wilderness. The frontier was closed when the settlers reached the Pacific coast  in the second half of the 19th century.

Manifest Destiny: the 19th century belief that the USA was chosen by God to settle most of North America.

Puritans: Protestant group of Christians in England in the 16th and 17th centuries who wanted to worship God in a simple way. They led strict lives and wanted to make America the New Jerusalem.


The traditional metaphor of the USA as a melting pot refers to the mixing of people of different backgrounds and emphasizes the fact that cultural groups change when they are in contact with others. When different metallic elements are melted, alloys are formed which have different properties from the original elements. Similarly, different ethnic and cultural groups in the USA have been blended together into a new common American culture through education, intermarriage, etc. New immigrants were traditionally encouraged to become Americans, to embrace basic American values, adopt English as the language of communication, observe national holidays and customs, etc (check: Assimilation, American-style on p. 176, l. 19-23).

In recent years, the metaphor of the melting pot has come under criticism as implying rigid cultural conformity. By contrast, the metaphors of the quilt, salad bowl, rainbow and pizza have been used to describe the fact that US society is composed of many different groups, all of which have contributed to the formation of that society and many of which have retained their heritage and identity. While the quilt, salad bowl, rainbow and pizza metaphors emphasize cultural diversity and variety in unity, they suggest that cultural groups remain unchanged and thus they do not do justice to the dynamic character of cultural interaction and social change.


Read pp. 178-179, do ex2, 3

Read pp. 180/181, do ex 2, 3, 4

Do p. 183 + p. 205

Check out p. 206, read the statements and check the words.