Thursday, August 16, 2007

Critical Comparisons of Two Essays of American Life: Swollen Expectations and Two Ways to Belong in America

The United States of America has always been described as the contemporary land of milk and honey, as shown by the long-running chase of many Americans and even much of the world peoples, for the American Dream. No other country in the world possessed technology so advanced, an economy so stable and a political system so strong than the United States, that many working people have called the US their home. The two essays, Swollen Expectations and Two Ways to Belong in America, talks about life of the common working people in America and how it changed of over the past few decades. The first essay discusses the different changes American society underwent in terms of acquiring personal property and technology, notwithstanding the changing needs and necessities of the average American family. Two Ways to Belong in America, on the other hand, gives a more specific detail about the lives of the common working people in America, in the eyes of two immigrant Indian women who have settled in the United States since the 1960s. This paper aims to compare and contrast the two essays in the light of the present issues on domestic wealth and immigration.

The two essays are similar only insofar as describing the immense opportunities that lay before American citizens. Swollen Expectations chronicled the changes in income and property acquisitions of the American public through the decades such as their propensity to purchase larger homes compared to generations before and their taste for larger automobiles, evidenced by the jump in SUV purchases in recent years, despite the oil price hikes. They also now embark on purchasing home appliances laden with technology such as CD players, microwave ovens, and personal computers, among others, notwithstanding the spreading tastes of the American public for different types of international cuisine such as Chinese and Thai. These facts concretely show that the realities and perceptions of the common working people about the opportunities that lay before them have been altered, even swelled, in the last few decades. This kind of swollen expectations can even be conjectured as the basis as to why thousands of immigrants, represented by the Indian sisters in the essay Two Ways to Belong in America, continue to flock to America in search of stable incomes and the American Dream. They sometimes comes in droves, as legal or illegal immigrants, in search for greener pastures, especially when the chances of success for lower income bracket families is much better in America than their countries of origin. Such swollen expectations drive these immigrants to chase the American Dream as well and soon enough drive their Chevrolets, sip specialty coffees, watch DVD movies, embark on space tourism, and many other opportunities that lay before them once they hit it big in the thousands of workplaces in the United States.

However, while there truly are immense opportunities that lay before American citizens as described by Swollen Expectations, the story of the Indian sisters shows that, in reality, the opportunity to pursue such an American Dream is not the same for everybody else, especially immigrants, regardless of their American citizenship or their possession of the Green Card. The federal government, in the exercise of its inherent powers, can still grab this opportunity away from the Indian sisters through stricter immigration laws, even if the two have totally embraced American culture or retained their Indian heritage. More so, by including prior immigrants in the stricter control measures, their continued stay in the United States and their pursuit of the opportunities that lay before them might only be a pipe dream soon enough.

Nonetheless, the two essays provides a message of how great a country the United States has become – opening its doors to different races and relatively allowing all those who would wish to seek greener pastures the opportunity to do so. In a backdrop of a people’s swelling expectations, starting out immigrants, even American citizens from poorer states, have a competitive chance in determining their destiny inside the United States of America.

Works Cited:

1. De Graaf, J., Wann D., & Naylor T. Swollen Expectations. Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. Ed. Laurie Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. pp. 425-431.

2. Mukherjee, B. Two Ways to Belong in America. Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. Ed. Laurie Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. pp. 415-418.

Tenth Edition.


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