Instructions: Jonathan Franzen was said to be the voice of a new generation of authors who examined an America or an American Dream in crisis. His works often speak to individuals who struggle with the financial realities (finding employment, buying houses, and finding purpose in life, to name a few) facing middle-class America in the 1990’s. These issues still resonate for many Americans today. Examining the perspective of either Jonathan (the one who borrows houses in the personal narrative) or of Ken and Joan (the ones with a house falling apart) in the personal narrative, explain the different struggles and dissatisfactions this individual seems to be finding with their financial situation and their American Dream.
- Select a moment in the personal narrative that illustrates a moment when Franzen (the author) is making a point about the financial realities of the American Dream.
- Select a quote from the text that supports the above and post it along with your interpretation, explanation and understanding of that quote, as it relates to Franzen’s critique of the American Dream.
- Discuss why you found it compelling (what interested you in this passage?).
- Point out at least one element in the quote that struck you–surprising word choice? unusual sentence construction?–and suggest a reason for this choice by the writer.
Make sure to always use evidence from the text (quotes of support) to find the theme or central idea of the reading. MLA citation guidelines should be used to cite quotes.