From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream

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Barker represents a third response to the existential vacuum. Her thoughts and actions are based not upon any principle or prin- ciples she holds within herself, for she has none. Barker represents a collectivistic response to absurdity, although not in the political sense. She is rather a kind of caricature of the other-directed person. From the beginning of the play mrs. Barker is identified as a representative of organizations.

This bit of eavesdropping allows her to blend into the conversation as soon as she enters, because she knows who is in the room and the tone of their remarks. Barker enters, and since she may be the person coming to get Grandma, he wishes aloud that mrs. Barker might now just go away. Barker is a caricature of amiability, ignoring the inconsis- tencies that arise when she agrees with everyone in turn. On three separate occasions in the dialogue mrs. Barker takes contradictory positions on both sides of an argument. When she and mommy are talking about Woman Love in the country, the chief exponent of the movement seems to be mrs.

Barker agrees that the national tendency to hate women is deplorable. Just after that Daddy makes his complaint about being surrounded by women and wanting the companionship of men, and mrs. Barker enthusiastically agrees with him. Later the ques- tion arises whether mommy is being polite enough to mrs. She allows mommy to persuade her of her good will, but as soon as mommy leaves the room she agrees with Grandma that mommy is mistreating her as a guest in the house. Finally, when confronted with the Young man, who may be about to take Grandma away. When she is asked a direct question, even about a simple matter, mrs.

Barker becomes pathetic. After Grandma has arranged for mrs. Barker to introduce the Young man into the family, Grandma asks mrs. Barker if this has helped her accomplish her mission. Barker knows, when she knows anything at all, is the opinion of others, the rules of the various organizations, the collective mind of any group, however small, with which she comes in contact. Without such knowledge she is completely unable to respond even on a trivial subject. Although there seems to be no solution in the cosmic sense to the absurdity of our world, there is at least a way to make this world bear- able.

Among the commentators on the play there is general critical agreement that Grandma stands apart from the other characters. As he perceives the future, he can see only annihilation, performed by a devouring world. She is realistic; she has a sense of her own freedom and especially of her own dignity. Through her the audience learns why mommy married Daddy and much about their present relation- ship. She apparently has lived a full and pleasant life, although we are given few details. But the good is enjoying the experience of life, which she has done.

This cannot be said of any of the others. She is the only one who knows the essential vacuity of the Young man, but she can still enjoy his handsome, muscular appearance with an honest pleasure unlike that of the simperingly coy mommy. This in itself is significant enough compared to the aimless activities of mommy, Daddy, and mrs. But Grandma also is a kind of creative artist in her own way. Grandma did this in spite of the poverty of the family.

There is much comic nonsense in this story as mommy tells it, but it also points to a creativity only partly suppressed. For Grandma, however, language does serve to communicate, and her comments on style are both amusing and significant. Finally, another kind of creativity is shown in the way Grandma provides the resolution of the play by suggesting to mrs.

Barker what to do about the Young man and by prompting the Young man about taking a place in the family. Through comic caricature it reveals three desperate responses to the existential vacuum, and then it goes on to do one thing more. Frankl, professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna.

See especially The Doctor and the Soul, trans. Richard and clara Winston new York: Alfred A. Knopf, The American Dream new York: coward-mccann, inc. All further quotations from the play are taken from this edition. George e. Lewis, p. Wendell V. Jordan Y. Goodman, p. Introduction J. Lemay, J. William Andrews clark memorial Library, Los Angeles: So i will instead limit myself to some remarks about one aspect of his best-known work.

But few people read the Autobiography for its satire on the nature of man, or for its important contributions to the key ques- tions of ethical and moral philosophy which racked eighteenth- century thought, or for its ridicule of various religions and religious doctrines. Lord Kames, or those who read it in manuscript at his request, like Richard Price and La Rochefoucauld, would have appreciated its subtleties.

What is the American Dream? Such ballads usually portray the rise of the hero by a sudden stroke of good fortune, or by knightly feats of heroic courage. At best, this is a minor subject. When he refers to it, he generally does so for a number of imme- diate reasons, nearly all of which are as important as the fact of his wealth. Deborah as a helpmate , and, of course, partly as a testimony of the beginning of their wealth.

Although Franklin writes of his early poverty a number of times, he rarely mentions his later wealth. But the sentence structure on both occasions demonstrates that the major subject is public business, not private wealth. Those readers who are unhappy with the Autobiography because it is primarily a practical lesson in how to become rich, themselves emphasize the demeaning message that they decry.

A second and more important aspect of the American Dream theme in the Autobiography is the rise from impotence to importance, from dependence to independence, from helplessness to power. Franklin was conscious of this. And critical articles, such as that by James m. That explains the appeal of the myth of the log-cabin birth of our American presidents and the popularity of the role of the self- made man. The American Dream, on this archetypal level, embodies a universal experience. But what is the identity, the strength, the power, or the independence that we adults enjoy?

But the achieved status is no great shakes, as every suicide bears ample witness. How many qualifications there are, how little real independence, how constraining nearly all occupations, how confining the roles we must act, and how unpleasant all the innumerable forces that are so glumly summed up under the forbidding heading of the realities of life.

Who could not feel disenchanted with the American Dream? The American Dream is a philosophy of individualism: it holds that the world can be affected and changed by individuals. The American Dream is a dream of possibility—not just of wealth or of prestige or of power but of the manifold possibilities that human existence can hold for the incredible variety of people of the most assorted talents and drives. Generalized, the American Dream is the hope for a better world, a new world, free of the ills of the old, existing world.

Before anyone can achieve any measure of competence, much less extraordinary success, in any field, it is necessary to believe in the possibility of accomplishment. Will he be a tallow chandler and soap maker like his father and his older brother John? A cutler like his cousin Samuel? Or a printer like his older brother James? Or will he satisfy his craving for adven- ture and run off to sea like his older brother Josiah? Franklin sees the means that a person can use in order to create himself, to shape his life into whatever form that he may choose, as the primary subject of his book—insofar as it is a book about the American Dream.

Some readers notably D. That image echoes throughout the Autobiography and resounds throughout American literature. Franklin writes that the display was foolish and embarrassing and that it ultimately did him considerable political disservice. And common sense, though hardly so common as the phrase would have it, is still nothing extraordinary.

This third motif of the American Dream believes in the possibility of extraordinary achievement. A fourth aspect of the American Dream is, like the third, an underlying implication of the first two themes. Philosophically, it subsumes the earlier three motifs i have mentioned. The fourth theme takes a position on the age-old dialectic of free will versus deter- minism; or, to put this opposition in its degenerate present guise, between those people who think that what they do whether voting in an election, teaching in a classroom, or answering questions from behind the reference desk might make a difference and those who think it does not.

Obviously Franklin is to be placed with those who believe in the possible efficacy of action. But Franklin is nothing if not a complex man and a complex thinker. Several long passages in his writings—as well as his only philosophical treatise—argue just the opposite. A fifth and final aspect of the American Dream is, like the last two, a concomitant of the first two, as well as a precondition of their existence.

Belief in individualism and in free will, like the prospect of a rise from rags to riches or from impotence to importance, demands that the individual have hope. And so the Autobiography is deliberately optimistic about mankind and about the future. He gives a practical example of the result of an opposite point of view in his character sketch of the croaker, Samuel mickle. And we all know that, though the facts may be false, Franklin is right. But we may not be able to be. Franklin knew too that men are at the mercy of their personalities, their world views, as well as of their ability, background, finances, health, and age.

Potts, in the midst of his Poverty, ever laughing! He was capable of enormous self-discipline and had the common sense to know that it is better to be happy than miserable. But that is too partial a view of life to satisfy Franklin. This pessimism surprises no Franklinist, for his writings contain numerous similar passages. And Franklin had other good reasons to make the foolish vanity of man a major subject of the Autobiography, for the vanity of the auto- biographer, as Franklin well knew, was the greatest literary pitfall of the genre. But the ways that Franklin dealt with this is another major theme of the book, and i have already outstayed my time.

Franklin deliberately creates a certain kind of fictive world, embodies that world in some unforgettable scenes, creates and sustains one character who is among the most memorable in American literature, and writes vivid truths that strike us with a shock of recognition. We ordinary mortals want to turn against him, for what excuse does it leave us? Franklin maintains that cheats fail and honest men rise.

But the Franklin portrayed in the Autobiography allows us older people little comfort for our comparative failure. The laws of physics, the moral wisdom of the ancients, and our own visions of reality say that everything rises but to fall. Both Richard e. See Jeremy Bernstein, Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed.

Franklin to Priestley on moral algebra, 19 September , in Smyth, —38; Franklin to Kames, 3 may , in P, —5; Autobiography, p. Wecter, p. Blom, , pp. Hertford: Ballad Society, —99 , —91; and claude m. On the West as terrestrial paradise, see William H. On the translatio idea the theory of the westward movement of civilization , see Rexmond c.

Simpson, ed. Although he gives no indication of being aware of the intellectual and historical backgrounds of these motifs, Paul W. Autobiography, pp. Adams, Works, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin James m. Poor Richard, October , in P, See my remarks toward a definition of the American Dream in Men of Letters, pp. P, 3:xiv and The quotation is from Sallust, The War with Catiline, chap.

Rolfe, trans. Seltzer, , pp. See especially Herbert W. Super Ann Arbor: University of michigan Press, — , P, See the biographical sketch in the Autobiography, p. Smyth, P, — Sallust, The War with Jugurtha, chap. Brown, Lloyd W. But, to repeat, Hughes associates these revolutionary notions with only an image of childhood innocence. When one considers the fact of Black enslavement, the disenfranchisement of large groups, and the disadvantages of women, to name but a few areas, there seems little basis, apart from the usual dreams of American mythology, to believe that the American rebellion involved a fundamental re-struc- turing of the social order.

The preoccupation with an image rather than with the reality of revolution fits in with the American Dream of innovative transformations and novel beginnings. I do not offer these observations by way of registering a complaint. Whether or not there should have been a real revolution, of whatever kind, in the course of American history is not my main objective here. So that writers like Langston Hughes are exploring the nature of these revolutionary inclinations in order to determine whether they are fundamental revolutions against the majority dream and culture as a whole, or whether they are actually rebellious attempts to break down barriers to their realization of the majority dream.

The acid reminders of a tradition of revolutionary rhetoric are really taunts directed at the majority culture rather than some species of exhortation aimed at Black Americans. The child-identity minimizes the possibilities of such a posture, at the same time that it emphasizes the Black American as child-heir to the American dream-legacy of freedom, equality, and individual fulfillment.

What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet? Or does it explode? But here again it must be emphasized that Hughes does not explore this legacy of revolution in any exhortatory sense.

That is, he obviously identifies with the Black rebel-heirs to the American Dream—indeed their rebellion is the very essence of his own poetic protest—but he does this without necessarily espousing any concept of a radically transforming revolution. The point is not that Hughes is being hypocritical, or even muddle-headed; rather that his interest in sociopolitical reform is sharply defined by his basic loyalty to the unfulfilled promises of the American Revolution. So that in the final analysis his overall protest is not that the deferred dream is non-revo- lutionist but, quite simply, that it has been deferred.

America is a dream. The poet says it was promises. The people say it is promises— that will come true. Who is America? You, me! We are America! At the same time, the distinction which he offers between the quasi-revolutionary scepticism of the poet-intellectual and the firm faith of the masses, has significant implications for pro-revolutionary themes in Black American literature, especially since the sixties. For, in general, what one finds in these themes is an emphasis on the Black artist-intellec- tual as the revolutionary archetype whose mission is the bringing of a revolutionist consciousness to the supposedly receptive Black masses.

The Revolutionary Theatre must take dreams and give them a reality. Americans will hate the Revolutionary Theatre because it will be out to destroy them and whatever they believe is real. The force we want is of twenty million spooks storming America with furious cries and unstoppable weapons. We want actual explosions and actual brutality. And a Black World. On the other hand, the current trend in Black revolutionary literature assumes a rather easy identification of the artist with some mass revolutionary taste, a taste, one should add, that is often postulated but never really demonstrated as fact.

Death of a Salesman is centrally concerned with dreams and dreaming. What are the dreams of its protagonist, Willy Loman? What is their worth? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens? All right, boy. He had a good dream. Willy is dreaming, in a literal sense, throughout much of the play.

And i was fine. You can imagine, me looking at scenery, on the road every week of my life. This is an important passage in setting up the way the tragedy will unfold. Later, when he makes just this request, he is spurned on the basis of pure business calculations. Willy is drawn to death.

We learn later that he has attached a little hose to the gas line in his basement and is flirting with the idea of suicide. At the end of the play he carries through with it, appar- ently by crashing his car. Throughout the play he slips his moor- ings, comes unstuck in time, and is living through a past event while, in some cases, still interacting with those who are in his present.

A small glimpse of this phenomenon is visible in the passage above, when he tells Linda that he opened the windshield to enjoy the warm air. Death of a Salesman Whether we consider these events daydreams or reveries, they are a crucial part of the play. So are the past moments supposed to be entirely believable? And why not? Biff is as given to fantasizing and dishonest braggadocio as Willy, until the end, and Happy has the same traits, on a mundane level, mostly about his sexual conquests.

There has been a great deal of discussion about the question of tragedy in Death of a Salesman, most of it focusing on the unadmirable protagonist, Willy Loman. Linda is simply baffled. Only Biff seems to judge adequately:. Biff: He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong. Biff: He never knew who he was. Or was he wrong in his way of going about realizing them?

Willy would like to have his refrigerator paid for and be freed from nagging financial worries, but except for wistful reflections on his brother Ben, he never seems to aspire to great wealth. He likes the idea of many people coming to his funeral in the end there are five in attendance. He stifles his doubts, though, submerging them in his dream that business success comes from personality. America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people. And they know me, boys, they know me up and down new england.

The finest people. Biff is popular that cellar full of admirers , handsome, and athletic. The high point of his life was playing a football game at ebbets Field. Since that time he has been a loser and a petty criminal he was actually a petty criminal before, as Willy laughingly encour- aged him to steal footballs from school and lumber from construction sites. And such a hard worker. At other times Willy accuses Biff of being a lazy bum who fails in life only to spite his father. The larger problem for him is that his dreams are incoherent. But Willy does not have the requisite sterling traits of character; people simply do not like him as much as he thinks is necessary for success.

He abandoned his family before Willy could ever learn his secret, and the days of that kind of life are past by the time Willy has settled in Brooklyn. But he longs for them anyway, and his pride in his ability to use tools, as well as his pathetic plans to grow a garden he is putting seeds in the stony, sunless ground the night before he dies , are part of his nostalgic dream of an entirely different way of life. Death of a Salesman is a challenge to the American dream. Lest this be misunderstood, i hasten to add that there are two versions of the American dream.

The historical American dream is the promise of a land of freedom with opportunity and equality for all. This dream needs no challenge, only fulfillment. But since the civil War, and particularly since , the American dream has become distorted to the dream of business success. A distinction must be made even in this. The original premise of our dream of success—popularly represented in the original boy parables of Horatio Alger—was that enterprise, courage and hard work were the keys to success.

Since the end of the First World War this too has changed. Salesmanship implies a certain element of fraud: the ability to put over or sell a commodity regardless of its intrinsic usefulness. The goal of salesmanship is to make a deal, to earn a profit—the accumulation of profit being an unquestioned end in itself. Joseph A. Hynes has provided a compel- ling analysis:. We should add one more dream, though it is never precisely articu- lated: that of family life.

When Ben offers Willy the chance to go to Alaska with him—and become wealthy—he cannot go because he has a family. Biff should succeed because people like him. He should impose his will on the world by sheer magnetic masculinity—being well-built and athletic. But when Biff lives an outdoor life in the West a modern, reduced version of old mr.

Biff is an aging high school football star, too lazy to make his way up and casually criminal. Happy is a bum. Willy is a minimally successful salesman, now no longer able to sell. The climax of the play comes not because Willy has been victimized by fate, or capitalism, or some implacable abstraction. Willy Loman goes to his grave holding some version of the Amer- ican Dream—some romantic insistence that every man can be extraordinary.

Gerald Weales. Hynes, Joseph A. Jacobson, irving. Robert A. How am i theirs, if they cannot hold me, But i hold them? Frost was 86 at the time of the inauguration. The usual reasons given for his change of mind were his frailty, his relative unfamiliarity with the new work, and the fact that he was apparently blinded by the noon light and wind, though the new vice president held his top hat out in front of the poet to keep the wind off the paper and the glare from his eyes.

Thus, the effect was more powerful than it would have been had Frost simply stood up and read a poem. The poem presents two particular problems for contemporary readers.

A Sociological Inquiry

The earliest promises of America were based on the idea of fresh opportunity—to escape from the oppression of history to a virgin land where one could make oneself anew. Thus the postwar move to the suburbs is central to the definition we retain today of this term, even where it is used cynically. By the time of the Kennedy inauguration, that later meaning of the dream had been fulfilled by white middle-class Americans. Whitmanian, spiritual side of the American dream but rather at the dark, materialistic side of that dream.

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Lack of possession is construed as a failure to fulfill the promise of the new continent. Obligation lay there, but true connection lay there also: roots, family, the personal and historical past. Though that reality possessed us, we could no longer lay claim to it: we no longer possessed it.

These musical, repetitive, and balanced lines suggest the idea of economic reciprocity, exchange, and commensuration, just as the balanced couplets, witty closures, and verbal economy of eighteenth- century english verse reflect the birth of industry and capitalism. The Frost poem plays with these ideas of reciprocity, as if in search of a formula through which to express the modern American condi- tion of belonging neither here nor there.

The second and third lines constitute another. A gift without return, therefore, is an interruption in economy, a contradiction. The paradox may be stated as follows: if the gift appears as gift, it constitutes itself as part of an economy and therefore cannot be a gift. Derrida and mauss, in other words, in their reading of malinowski et al, argue that the gift is a figure for the impos- sible, since gifts inevitably reinscribe themselves within a cycle of exchange and return, even if only in the subjective form of gratitude or enhanced self-esteem for the giver.

The choice of poem was not visionary so much as defensive. The myth on which Frost draws, of course, had been shaped in the s, as the frontier vision of influential Amer- ican historian Frederick Jackson turner. While the poem certainly can be read as nationalist, it is not only ambiguous—its music and word play enhancing that ambiguity—but surprisingly dark. The Gift Outright Does the phrase apply then to the land? This debased existence is set against a dream of fields of goldenrod and, implicitly, a dream of poetry.

But, surprisingly, not only the lines of the two critiques but also the two vocabularies of Frost and Williams converge. They were capable neither of witnessing nor adjusting to the new place and the new condition, since those had not yet, and perhaps never did, come together for them.

Star Dust. Bosmajian, Hamida. Derrida, Jacques. Given Time: Counterfeit Money. Peggy Kamuf. Frye, northrup. Anatomy of Criticism. Princeton: Princeton UP, Jarrell, Randall. Poetry and the Age. Juliana Spahr et al. Buffalo: Leave Books, Perelman, Bob. Shapiro, Harvey. Udall, Stewart L. Von Frank, Albert J. Walcott, Derek. Williams, William carlos. Webster Schott. But without using this exact expression, F. Scott Fitzgerald had already published a novel commenting on the myth of American ascendancy in —The Great Gatsby.

With the Gold coast mansions of Long island, new York as its setting, this literary classic captures the aspirations that represented the opulent, excessive, and exuberant s. As Fitzgerald illustrates through this microcosm of American society, despite the optimism of the era, the dreams of status-seeking Long islanders soon become nightmares. Disillusioned by the death and destruction of World War i, nick decides to relocate from the midwest to new York during the summer of to seek his fortune as a Wall Street bonds trader.

This valley of ashes [halfway between West egg and new York city] is where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens. But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it are. The eyes of Doctor t. They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.

Fitzgerald The hues of the terrain—grey, cloudy, faded—reflect the polluted environment and offer a bleak depiction of humanity. Like an omnipresent God, Dr. Gatsby, who acquired his wealth through organized crime e. Unlike the inhabitants of east egg where the sun symbolically rises , Gatsby and the other newly minted, self-made millionaires of the Gold coast are crude, garish, and flamboyant.

Gatsby exposes his questionable background through numerous faux pas e. Despite all of their obvious wealth, the nouveau riche are imposters—cheap materialistic imitations of the American Dream. On Long island, aristocratic grace and elegance cannot be purchased, only inherited. Scott Fitzgerald. While members of the east coast aristocracy possess under- stated sophistication, refinement, and breeding, they do not embody the American Dream with the passion and intensity of self-made individuals. The KKK was active on Long island during the Roaring twenties, inflaming hatred of African-American, Jewish, and foreign-born groups who lived in nassau and Suffolk counties Wunderlich As tom conveys in a conversation with nick and Daisy:.

This fellow has worked out the whole thing. After an infinitesimal hesitation he included Daisy with a slight nod. The Great Gatsby Do you see? As he exclaims to Gatsby:. Flushed with his impassioned gibberish he saw himself standing alone on the last barrier of civilization. As matthew Frye Jacobson delineates, skin color itself did not simply determine race, but was coupled with a set of social or cultural arbiters, such as mannerisms, employment, and housing. Yes, but listen, said myrtle Wilson.

Well, i married him [i. This time both African- Americans and Jews are targets of discrimination:. After a moment i discovered his tiny eyes in the half darkness. Despite the racism, sexism, and vice-laden violence of old wealth, the nouveau riche continue to be attached to their lifestyle. He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray.

While we admired [them] he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher—shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of indian blue. Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once. And i KnOW. He cannot confront the fact that she would never abandon her family to be with him, and refuses to acknowl- edge tom and Pammy, for to do so would extinguish the nostalgic flame of their romance.

A well-known amateur golfer, Jordan, like Daisy, suffers from spiritual emptiness; her constant yawning symbolizes her empty life and adolescent ennui. She is constantly manipulating her surroundings in a childish effort to maintain her superficial image:. She was dressed to play golf and i remember thinking she looked like a good illustration, her chin raised a little, jauntily, her hair the color of an autumn leaf, her face the same brown tint as the fingerless glove on her knee.

She told me without comment that she was engaged to another man. Jordan applies the same strategies to her romantic entanglements as she does to her career. She deceives nick into thinking that they have a future together and then, when she realizes that he cannot secure her materialistic needs, she capriciously decides to marry someone who can.

Unlike Gatsby, nick is able to see through the charade of innocence feigned by Daisy and Jordan, and is able to save himself from their self-destructive influence. Aspiring to join the ranks of the east egg aristocracy, she, like Gatsby, tries to transcend her working-class roots by mimicking their nonchalant sophistication and superior manners she allows four taxi cabs to pass before summoning a stylish lavender one with grey upholstery, and even buys a puppy from a John D. Rockefeller look-alike. Wilson had changed her costume some time before and was now attired in an elaborate afternoon dress of cream colored chiffon, which gave out a continual rustle as she swept about the room.

With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur. Like Gatsby, she cannot comprehend that attaining the American Dream is far more complicated than slipping into a disguise of cream-colored chiffon, and is therefore doomed to a life of disillusionment.

His dream comes to a bitter end. The only way out became using her body to acquire the materialism that she believed defined happiness. This sequence of lies leads George Wilson to believe, errone- ously, that Gatsby is having an affair with his wife, and was behind the wheel of the Rolls Royce that killed her. The shame of the affair compels Wilson to shoot Gatsby and then commit suicide. But for Daisy, self-preservation is far more valuable than personal honor. But Gatsby became a victim of the greed, apathy, and indifference that corrupts dreams, betrays promises, and destroys possibilities.

He was only a young man but he had a lot of brain power. Despite all of his efforts, Gatsby is unable to disown his humble past; he manages to obtain the artificial security of wealth, but can never secure the respectability of old money that Daisy represents. Fitzgerald, F.

The Great Gastby. Jacobson, matthew Frye. Whiteness of a Different Color. Wunderlich, Roger. The novel contains many autobiographical elements, including a fictionalized narrator, Esperanza, who records not only her dreams but also the dreams of her people. Writing lies at the center of the text, representing the ability to re-inscribe ourselves in the terms we desire.

Valdes, Maria Elena de. Sandra Cisneros — , a Chicago-born poet of Mexican parentage, published her first novel in The narrating pres- ence is a composite of a poetic enunciating voice and a narrative voice, and this presence can best be described as a formal function within the literary structure who, as a speaker, is only knowable as a story-teller in her response to the extratextual, societal, and historical, determi- nate referents. The union of the self and person is the hallmark of the lyrical text.

The sense of alienation is compounded because ethnically she is a mexican, although culturally a mexican American; she is a young girl surrounded by examples of abused, defeated, worn-out women, but the woman she wants to be must be free. The reflections of one crucial year in her life are narrated in the present from a first person point of view. This was the year of the passage from preado- lescence to adolescence when she discovered the meaning of being female and mexican living in chicago, but, most of all, this was the year she discovered herself through writing.

The girl who did not want to belong to her social reality learns that she belongs to herself, to others, and not to a place. The frame for the short narratives is simple but highly effective. The family has been wandering from place to place, always dreaming of the promised land of a house of their own. When they finally arrive at the house on mango Street, which is at last their own house, it is not the promised land of their dreams.

The parents overcome their dejection by saying that this is not the end of their moving, that it is only a temporary stop before going on to the promised house. The narrator knows better. The conflict between the promised land and the harsh reality, which she always recognizes in its full force of rejection, violence, fear, and waste, is presented without compromise and without dramatization.

This is just the way things are on mango Street, but the narrator will not give up her dream of the promised house and will pursue it. The lesson she must learn is that the house she seeks is, in reality, her own person. She must overcome her rejec- tion of who she is and find her self-esteem. She must be true to herself and thereby gain control of her identity. The search for self-esteem and her true identity is the subtle, yet powerful, narrative thread that unites the text and achieves the breakthrough of self-understanding in the last pieces.

We can trace this search through some of its many moments. A real house. One i could point to. For the time being, mama says. The narrator goes on to establish the family circle where she has warmth and love but is lonely and, most of all, estranged from the world outside. Fear and hostility are the alien- ating forces she tries to understand. Why do people of other colour fear her? And why should she fear others? Her mother tells her she had brains, but she was also self-conscious and ashamed not to look as well as other more affluent girls.

The syndrome is there; it is a closed circle. There is a subtle sequential order to the short sections. The text ends with the anticipated departure from the house and the literary return to it through writing. She is drawn to the women and girls as would-be role models; within her family, her mother and her younger sister magdalena nenny are characterized, but the most searching descriptions are of girls her own age or, as she says, a few years older. She speaks about what she sees and what she thinks.

Her style is one of subtlety, understatement, and generosity. The first person moves effortlessly from observer to lyrical intro- spection about her place in the world. The language is basic, idiomatic english with a touch of colloquial speech and a few Spanish words. The deceptively simple structure of sentences and paragraphs has a concep- tual juxtaposition of action and reaction where the movement itself is the central topic.

They think we will attack them with shiny knives. We know the guy. But watch us drive into a neighborhood of another color and our knees go shakity-shake and our car windows get rolled up tight and our eyes look straight. The description has been that of a keen observer, the composition is that of a poet. This structure operates through a conceptual back and forth move- ment of images, like the action of the shuttle in the loom.

But, when the shuttle brings back the narrative thread, it presents the inversion. The speaker and her language are mutually implicated in a single interdependent process of poetic self-invention. The poetic text cannot operate if we separate the speaker from her language; they are the inseparable unity of personal identity. There is no utterance before enunciation. There is a fictional persona, espe- ranza cordero, who will speak, and there is the implicit continued use of idiomatic American english.

But the enunciation that we read is at once the speaker and the spoken which discloses the subject, her subjectivity, and ours. This close reading of the text with attention to how it operates, suggests a movement and a counter-movement which i have described metaphorically as the movement of a loom weaving the presence of subjectivity. The symbolic space she creates should not be abstracted from the writing, because the writing itself is the creation of her own space.

She is, in the most direct sense of the word, making herself and in a space of her own. The imagery in this text functions on three levels, in the manner of prose poems. But, the images also have a narrative function as a part of the plot line which is the search for the promised house. And, finally, each image takes on symbolic proportions because it participates in the rich intertextuality of literature. The narrative is composed of four short paragraphs. Keep, keep, keep, trees say when i sleep. They teach.

When i am too sad and too skinny to keep keeping, when i am a tiny thing against so many bricks, then it is i look at trees. When there is nothing left to look at on this street. Four who reach and do not forget to reach. Four whose only reason is to be and be. There is a secret to survival that the trees make manifest—an unconquerable will to fight without respite in order to survive in an urban setting:. Their strength is secret. They send ferocious roots beneath the ground. They grow up and they grow down and grab the earth between their hairy toes and bite the sky with violent teeth and never quit their anger.

This is how they keep. A circle, understand? You will always be esperanza. You will always be mango Street. This poem-piece is unlike any of the others in form because it combines the prose- poem quality of the rest of the book with the most extended dialogue sequence. The three sisters speak to esperanza. The speaking voices are of crucial importance for through their enunciation they become full participants in the story-telling evocation with esperanza. At the level of plot the sisters serve as revelation.

They are the narrative mediators that enter the story, at the crucial junctures, to assist the heroine in the trial that lies ahead. They are sisters to each other and, as women, sisters to esperanza. This image is, above all, a lyrical disclosure of revelation. At the symbolic level, the three sisters are linked with clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, the three fates. The last image i shall discuss is based on the number two, the full force of opposition between two houses, the one on mango Street and the promised house which is now the projection of the narrator.

The oppositional pull and push continues throughout and reaches its climax in the last three pieces. Because the house has become an extension of the person the rejection is vehement. She knows the person she is does not belong to the hostile ugly world she lives in. The house is now a meta- phor for the subject and, therefore, the personal space of her identity. The last piece resolves the oppositional tension by transforming it into writing, into the metaphor of going away from mango Street in order to return.

At the level of plot, the opposition of the house on mango Street and a house of her own provides the narrative thread for the text. The fact that this conflict between alienation and the need to belong is common to persons of all cultures and across history gives the text its thematic link to world literature. There is a perfect circularity in the plot insofar as the text ends when the writing begins. The opening lines of the text are the closing.

The symbolic level of the image of the house is the most basic expression of existence. This house is not hers and does not reflect her presence. With my porch and my pillow, my pretty purple petunias. The problem is that she belongs to the house on mango Street and to deny it would be at the expense of herself, of her identity.

She belongs to a world that is not hers; it is an opposition that will not be resolved in a synthesis or a compromise. She learns not only to survive but to win her freedom, and the text itself with its title and its search for the promised house is the creative tension of poetry. By writing, esperanza has not only gained control of her past, she has created a present in which she can be free and belong at the same time. Her freedom is the fundamental freedom to be herself and she cannot be herself if she is entrapped in patriarchal narrativity.

She has lectured extensively in north America and during the last three years has dedicated most of her time to writing another book of fiction, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, published by Random House in The House on Mango Street was published in with a publication grant from the national endowment for the Arts. For one thing, the two forms share the fiction of privacy; diarists ostensibly write, as monologists speak, only for themselves. The two issues debated are genre and chicano ideology. She has done what she set out to do. The ideological debate is much more serious.

Although i now have moved toward my own position of literary criticism as social critique, it would be less than forthright not to acknowledge my debt to Kristeva. But whether loom or quilt there is the unmistakable design of imagistic narrativity in place of emplotment. An essential point to my argument is to emphasize the importance of an open text in writing by women. The Poetics of Reverie. Daniel Russell. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon, Black, naomi.

Social Feminism. The Poems of Catullus. William A. The House on Mango Street. Houston: Arte Publico P, Kristeva, Julia. Thomas A. Lisse, netherlands: Ridder, Lippard, Lucy. Olivares, Julian. Ricoeur, Paul. The Rule of Metaphor. Robert czerny. John B. Rodriguez, Juan. Showalter, elaine. Smith, Sidonie. Bloomington: indiana UP, Woolf, Virginia. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, The jungle upTon sinClair ,. Upton Sinclair by Jon A. As such, it exposes as a sham the elusive immigrant dream of coming to a new land and finding the promised peace and justice for all.

Detailing how Sinclair dreamed of a socialist society where everyone would know economic equality, Jon A. When the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in , the poetic sentiments carved on its pedestal had already achieved the status of national mystique. But the response to the invitation went beyond the imaginations of the Founding Fathers who had identified America as a land offering liberty and justice for all.

During the first ten years of this century, 8,, immigrants entered the United States. Although 8,, of the people came from europe, less than a half million were from Great Britain, whereas the number included more than two million italians and another two million from Austria and Hungary. For significant Russian immigration including Lithuanians was a recent phenomenon. But this number increased steadily until , one year after The Jungle was published, when more than a quarter of a million Russians bet their lives that America was their promised land.

And Sinclair, who never separated his economic condition from his spiritual or psychological state, was increasingly convinced that without socialism America could offer these new believers in the American Dream only a night- marish existence. But it was his novel that called the attention of the world to Upton Sinclair. For his portrayal of Lithuanian peasants who come to America vividly suggests that our melting pot is less appetizing than the terms offered on our Statue of Liberty.

Jurgis Rudkis and Ona Lukoszaite, whose marriage in America constitutes the first chapter of The Jungle, had met in Brelovicz one and a half years earlier.

Liz Murray: Inspiring American Dreams

Then financial disaster struck the Lukoszaite family with the death of the father. Do they suddenly become reckless, or are they just going through a natural phase? Keith Kirkland is developing wearable tech that communicates information using only the sense of touch. He's trying to figure out: What gestures and …. In a talk that's by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her hard-earned wisdom about life and death.

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What does it mean to be civil?

Reviving the American dream, one neighborhood at a time – Harvard Gazette

Journalist Steven Petrow looks for answers in the original meaning of the word, showing why civility shouldn't be …. Modern American health care is defined by its high costs, high overhead and inaccessibility -- especially for low-income patients. Silence is a rare commodity these days. There's traffic, construction, air-conditioning, your neighbor's lawnmower Activist Shad Begum has spent her life empowering women to live up to their full potential.

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In this passionate call to action, year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg explains why, in August , she walked out of school and organized a …. What does it take to build a national movement? The Montreal Protocol proved that the world could come together and take action on climate change. Thirty years after the world's most successful …. Anger is a powerful emotion -- it warns us of threat, insult, indignity and harm. But across the world, girls and women are taught that their anger …. What can we learn from the world's most enduringly creative people? They "slow-motion multitask," actively juggling multiple projects and moving ….

Listen in to hear what the man who makes a living from …. The American election system is complicated, to say the least -- but voting is one of the most tangible ways that each of us can shape our communities. How can we make the system more modern, inclusive and secure? Civic …. From London to Tokyo, climate change is causing cities to sink -- and our modern concrete infrastructure is making us even more vulnerable to severe …. If we hope to heal the racial tensions that threaten to tear the fabric of society apart, we're going to need the skills to openly express ourselves ….

Women have made enormous progress over the last century -- challenging the status quo, busting old taboos and changing business from the inside out. You probably know the common symptoms of a heart attack: chest and arm pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. But there's another kind that's just as deadly and harder to detect because the symptoms are silent. In this …. The way we're taught to live has got to change, says author Casey Gerald. Too often, we hide parts of ourselves in order to fit in, win praise, be accepted.

In this inspiring talk, Gerald shares the …. If we really want to address climate change, we need to make gender equity a reality, says writer and environmentalist Katharine Wilkinson. As part of Project Drawdown, Wilkinson has helped scour humanity's wisdom for …. Around the world, black girls are being pushed out of schools because of policies that target them for punishment, says author and social justice …. Choosing to marry and share your life with someone is one of the most important decisions you can make in life.

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India has the second largest population of any country in the world -- yet it has only 50 decent bookstores, says publisher Chiki Sarkar. So she …. What does it take to build the fast, flexible, creative teams needed to challenge entrenched work culture? For transformation expert Martin …. Paula Stone Williams knew from a young age that she was transgender. But as she became a parent and prominent evangelical pastor, she feared that ….

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But do they shape the way …. Can you look at someone's face and know what they're feeling? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety the same way? What are emotions …. In the early days of digital culture, Jaron Lanier helped craft a vision for the internet as public commons where humanity could share its knowledge ….

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For too long, the answer has been "the extraordinary" -- those aspirational historymakers who inspire us with their successes. But those stories are limiting, says museum curator Ariana …. Women own 39 percent of all businesses in the US, but female entrepreneurs get only two percent of venture funding.

What's causing this gap? Dana Kanze shares research suggesting that it might be the types of questions …. Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures rather than undermines creativity. Hard work, resilience and grit lead to success, right?

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This narrative pervades the way we think, says economist Darrick Hamilton, but the truth is that our chances at economic security have less to do with what we do …. In a powerful talk, educator Eldra Jackson III shares how he unlearned dangerous lessons about masculinity through Inside Circle, an organization …. Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our "experiencing …. How do you talk to someone who doesn't believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we've been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe.

In this inspiring, pragmatic talk, …. Humans are no longer valued for our creativity, says media theorist Douglas Rushkoff -- in a world dominated by digital technology, we're now just …. The workplace is often presented as a meritocracy, where you can succeed by putting your head down and working hard. Wall Street veteran Carla Harris learned early in her career that this a myth. The key to actually …. Imagine your company hires a new employee and then everyone just ignores them, day in and day out, while they sit alone at their desk getting paid to do nothing.

This situation actually happens all the time -- when …. What shapes our perceptions and misperceptions about science? In an eye-opening talk, meteorologist J. Marshall Shepherd explains how confirmation …. When a parent is sent to prison, the unintended victims of their crimes are their own children -- without stability and support, kids are at higher risk for mental health and development issues.

In a heartfelt talk, …. Domestic workers are entrusted with the most precious aspects of people's lives -- they're the nannies, the elder-care workers and the house cleaners who do the work that makes all other work possible. Too often, …. Two hundred million years ago, our mammal ancestors developed a new brain feature: the neocortex. This stamp-sized piece of tissue wrapped around a brain the size of a walnut is the key to what humanity has become. How can we get people to do more good: to go to the polls, give to charity, conserve resources or just generally act better towards others? MIT ….

How you respond after setbacks is what defines your character. Stacey Abrams was the first black woman in the history of the United States to be nominated by a major party for governor -- she lost that hotly contested …. Think about the most tired you've ever been at work. It probably wasn't when you stayed late or came home from a road trip -- chances are it was when …. The subject of race can be very touchy. As finance executive Mellody Hobson says, it's a "conversational third rail.

In this engaging, persuasive …. In , Tarana Burke was consumed by a desire to do something about the sexual violence she saw in her community. She took out a piece of paper, …. With Marvel's "America Chavez," Gabby Rivera wrote a new kind of superhero -- one who can punch portals into other dimensions while also embracing her gentle, goofy, soft side.

In a funny, personal talk, Rivera shares …. What if we took out more greenhouse gases than we put into the atmosphere? This hypothetical scenario, known as "drawdown," is our only hope of averting climate disaster, says strategist Chad Frischmann. Tech that can decode your brain activity and reveal what you're thinking and feeling is on the horizon, says legal scholar and ethicist Nita …. But now that's …. On any given night, more than , people in the United States are locked up in jail simply because they don't have enough money to pay bail.

As a writer, Elizabeth Gilbert is notorious for placing her heart squarely on her sleeve. Her best-selling memoir "Eat Pray Love" was a sensation precisely because of her eloquent, open-hearted descriptions of fear, …. Do you ever order clothes online in different sizes and colors, just to try them on and then send back what doesn't work? Aparna Mehta used to do …. Our oceans are unexplored and undersampled -- today, we still know more about other planets than our own. How can we get to a better understanding of this vast, important ecosystem?

Explorer Sebastien de Halleux shares …. Some days, it feels like the only thing we can agree on is that we can't agree -- on anything. Drawing on her background as a world debate champion, …. Was really the "worst year ever," as some would have us believe?

In his analysis of recent data on homicide, war, poverty, pollution and more, …. Libraries have the power to create a better world; they connect communities, promote literacy and spark lifelong learners. But there's one thing that keeps people away: the fear of overdue book fines. What exactly is civility, and what does it require? In a talk packed with historical insights, political theorist Teresa Bejan explains how civility ….

Author AJ Jacobs embarked on a quest with a deceptively simple idea at its heart: to personally thank every person who helped make his morning cup of coffee. More than one thousand "thank yous" later, Jacobs reflects on …. Only if you are truly open to the possibility of being wrong can you ever learn, says researcher Alex Edmans. In an insightful talk, he explores how …. When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: A woman of faith?

A scholar, a mom, a sister? Or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential …. Who controls the internet? Increasingly, the answer is large corporations and governments -- a trend that's threatening digital privacy and access to …. To help spur progress, back in the United Nations drew up a …. Adults tend to think of kids as "future citizens" -- their ideas and opinions will matter someday, just not today. But kids make up a quarter of the …. How does Hollywood choose what stories get told on-screen? Too often, it's groupthink informed by a narrow set of ideas about what sells at the box ….

Seemingly pointless scientific research can lead to extraordinary discoveries, says physicist Suzie Sheehy. In a talk and tech demo, she shows how …. Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can -- and should -- be …. How do you turn a memory, especially one of a traumatic event, into hard evidence of a crime? Julia Shaw is working on this challenge, combining …. What if your attachment to being a "good" person is holding you back from actually becoming a better person?

In this accessible talk, social ….

Data Protection Choices

Have you ever actually read the terms and conditions for the apps you use? Taking lessons from a historical pattern called "Thucydides's Trap," political scientist Graham Allison shows why a rising China and a dominant …. What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction and social media obsession all have in common?

They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman -- and this critical discovery …. Legendary scientist David Deutsch puts theoretical physics on the back burner to discuss a more urgent matter: the survival of our species. The first …. By , an estimated 10 billion people will live on earth. How are we going to provide everybody with basic needs while also avoiding the worst impacts of climate change? In a talk packed with wit and wisdom, science ….

Leave those calluses alone

Over the course of her fearless career, extreme action specialist Elizabeth Streb has pushed the limits of the human body. She's jumped through broken glass, toppled from great heights and built gizmos to provide a …. What can you do if you're the victim of revenge porn or cyberbullying? Shockingly little, says journalist and activist Darieth Chisolm, who found ….

A massive generation of young people is about to inherit the world, and it's the duty of everyone to give them a fighting chance for their futures, says UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore. In this forward-looking …. Why do we have to choose between nationalism and globalism, between loving our countries and caring for the world?

In a talk with lessons for avowed nationalists and globalists alike, Wanis Kabbaj explains how we can …. In a talk that's equal parts funny and urgent, consultant Vinay Shandal shares stories of the world's top activist investors, showing how individuals …. Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius.

It's a funny, personal …. Is outer space really the silent and lifeless place it's often depicted to be? Perhaps not. Astrophysicist and musician Matt Russo takes us on a journey through the cosmos, revealing the hidden rhythms and harmonies of …. We need to change how we prescribe drugs, says physician Daniel Kraft: too often, medications are dosed incorrectly, cause toxic side effects or just don't work. In a talk and concept demo, Kraft shares his vision for a ….

The malaria vaccine was invented more than a century ago -- yet each year, hundreds of thousands of people still die from the disease. How can we …. We're far from developing robots that feel emotions, but we already have feelings towards them, says robot ethicist Kate Darling, and an instinct …. You don't have to be a scientist to help protect the world's oceans, says underwater drone expert and TED Fellow David Lang -- in fact, ordinary …. Fraud researcher and documentary filmmaker Kelly Richmond Pope shares lessons from some of the most high-profile whistle-blowers of the past, explaining how they've shared information that has shaped society -- and why ….

For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workplace at the same time, says entrepreneur Chip Conley. What would happen if we got …. We may not be as deeply divided as we think -- at least when it comes to health, says Rebecca Onie. In a talk that cuts through the noise, Onie ….

You don't have to work on Broadway to design a set, says creative director David Korins -- you can be the set designer of any space in your life. Sharing insights from his work on hits like "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan …. We're living in a golden era of innovation, says entrepreneur Ashwini Anburajan -- but venture capital hasn't evolved to keep up, and start-ups …. Imagine being by yourself in the dead center of a 3,foot vertical cliff -- without a rope to catch you if you fall.

For professional rock climber …. Spider venom can stop your heart within minutes, cause unimaginable pain -- and potentially save your life, says zoologist Michel Dugon. With a live …. We're taught to believe that hard work and dedication will lead to success, but that's not always the case. Gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation are among the many factors that affect our ….

Looking to get ahead in your career? Start by being respectful to your coworkers, says leadership researcher Christine Porath. In this science-backed …. Kristie Overstreet is on a mission to ensure that the transgender community gets their health care needs met.

In this informative, myth-busting talk, she provides a primer for understanding gender identity and invites …. Every month, millions of Americans face an impossible choice: pay for energy to power their homes, or pay for basic needs like food and medicine. Is it better to be lucky or good? Should we trust our gut feelings or rely on probabilities and careful analysis when making important decisions?

Speaking up is hard to do, even when you know you should. Learn how to assert yourself, navigate tricky social situations and expand your personal …. How does a city become known as a "music city"? Publicist Elizabeth Cawein explains how thriving music scenes make cities healthier and happier and …. In , 11, untested rape kits -- some dating back to the s -- were found in an abandoned warehouse once used by the Detroit police to store …. We all want to be safe, and our safety is intertwined, says Tracie Keesee, cofounder of the Center for Policing Equity.

Sharing lessons she's learned …. What's it like to grow up within a group of people who exult in demonizing Megan Phelps-Roper shares details of life inside …. As a young scientist, Catherine Mohr was on her dream scuba trip -- when she put her hand right down on a spiny sea urchin.

While a school of sharks …. Archaeologist and curator Chip Colwell collects artifacts for his museum, but he also returns them to where they came from. In a thought-provoking …. What if we could help our bodies heal faster and without scars, like Wolverine in X-Men? Nobody likes going to the hospital, whether it's because of the logistical challenges of getting there, the astronomical costs of procedures or the alarming risks of complications like antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

But …. After a horrific accident put her in the tabloid headlines, Kate Stone found a way to take control of her narrative -- and help prevent others from …. When the pressure is on, why do we sometimes fail to live up to our potential? Our fingerprints are what make us unique -- but they're also home to a world of information hidden in molecules that reveal our actions, lifestyles …. If you ever struggle to make decisions, here's a talk for you.

Cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths shows how we can apply the logic of computers to untangle tricky human problems, sharing three practical strategies for …. For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to create a process for transplanting animal organs into humans, a theoretical dream that …. After a visit to a European library in search of Arabic and Middle Eastern texts turned up only titles about fear, terrorism and destruction, Ghada ….

Of all the problems facing humanity, which should we focus on solving first? In a compelling talk about how to make the world better, moral …. If we want sustainable, long-term security to be the norm in the world, it's time to radically rethink how we can achieve it, says TED Fellow and conflict researcher Benedetta Berti. In an eye-opening talk, Berti …. In , eye surgeon and TED Fellow Andrew Bastawrous developed a smartphone app that brings quality eye care to remote communities, helping people avoid losing their sight to curable or preventable conditions.

Along …. Meet AIVA, an artificial intelligence that has been trained in the art of music composition by reading more than 30, of history's greatest scores. In a mesmerizing talk and demo, Pierre Barreau plays compositions …. When faced with life's toughest circumstances, how should we respond: as an optimist, a realist or something else? In an unforgettable talk, explorer …. When we talk about greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide gets the most attention -- but methane, which often escapes unseen from pipes and wells, has a far greater immediate impact on global warming.

Environmentalist Fred …. Sex buying doesn't just happen late at night on street corners in the shady part of town -- it also happens online, in the middle of the workday, using company equipment and resources. With this problem comes an …. In , Colorado legalized cannabis and added to what has fast become a multibillion-dollar global industry for all things weed-related: from vape …. Geneticist Steve McCarroll wants to make an atlas of all the cells in the human body so that we can understand in precise detail how specific genes ….

Struggling to budget and manage finances is common -- but talking honestly and openly about it isn't. Why do we hide our problems around money? When a baby is born, so is a mother -- but the natural and sometimes unsteady process of transition to motherhood is often silenced by shame or misdiagnosed as postpartum depression.

In this quick, informative talk, …. Halima Aden made history when she became the first hijab-wearing model on the cover of Vogue magazine. Now she returns to Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp -- where she was born and lived until the age of seven -- to share an …. China is the world's biggest polluter -- and now one of its largest producers of clean energy. Which way will China go in the future, and how will it …. What's it like to discover a galaxy -- and have it named after you?

In this quick talk, visual artist Dread Scott tells the story of one of his most transgressive art installations, which drew national attention for its controversial use of the American flag and led to a landmark First …. New tech spawns new anxieties, says scientist and philosopher Grady Booch, but we don't need to be afraid an all-powerful, unfeeling AI. Booch allays …. We celebrate bold entrepreneurs whose ingenuity led them to success, but what happens to those who fail? Far too often, they bury their stories out …. Imagine a workplace where people of all colors and races are able to climb every rung of the corporate ladder -- and where the lessons we learn about ….

In this eye-opening talk about the impact of race and neighborhood on foster-care decisions, social worker Jessica Pryce shares a promising solution …. What do communities on the social, economic and environmental margins have in common? For one thing, they tend to be on the east sides of cities. When bankers refused to serve her neighbors in rural India, Chetna Gala Sinha did the next best thing: she opened a bank of her own, the first ever for and by women in the country.

In this inspiring talk, she shares …. Can public spaces both reclaim the past and embrace the future? Landscape architect Walter Hood has explored this question over the course of an iconic career, with projects ranging from Lafayette Square Park in San …. When cancer cells are closely packed together in a tumor, they're able to communicate with each other and coordinate their movement throughout the ….

In Agbogbloshie, a community in Accra, Ghana, people descend on a scrapyard to mine electronic waste for recyclable materials. Without formal training, these urban miners often teach themselves the workings of …. Now a teacher of …. Luck is rarely a lightning strike, isolated and dramatic -- it's much more like the wind, blowing constantly.

Catching more of it is easy but not …. Social justice belongs in our schools, says educator Sydney Chaffee. In a bold talk, she shows how teaching students to engage in activism helps them …. Underneath every shiny new megacity, there's often a story of communities displaced. In this moving, poetic talk, OluTimehin Adegbeye details how government land grabs are destroying the lives of thousands who live in ….

Physician David Casarett was tired of hearing hype and half-truths around medical marijuana, so he put on his skeptic's hat and investigated on his own. He comes back with a fascinating report on what we know and what …. When trying to come up with a new idea, we all have times when we get stuck. But according to research by behavioral and learning scientist Marily Oppezzo, getting up and going for a walk might be all it takes to get …. Your voice is indistinguishable from how other people see you, but your relationship with it is far from obvious.

She explains …. Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and …. Justin Baldoni wants to start a dialogue with men about redefining masculinity -- to figure out ways to be not just good men but good humans. Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path?

Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but …. In an unmissable talk about race and politics in America, Theo E. Wilson tells the story of becoming Lucius25, white supremacist lurker, and the …. Luvvie Ajayi isn't afraid to speak her mind or to be the one dissenting voice in a crowd, and neither should you. Tobacco causes more than seven million deaths every year -- and many of us are far more complicit in the problem than we realize. In a bold talk, …. Do you sometimes have your most creative ideas while folding laundry, washing dishes or doing nothing in particular?

It's because when your body goes …. Let's face it, online dating can suck. So many potential people, so much time wasted -- is it even worth it? Podcaster and entrepreneur Christina Wallace thinks so, if you do it right. In a funny, practical talk, …. Today's AI algorithms require tens of thousands of expensive medical images to detect a patient's disease.

What if we could drastically reduce the …. More than 90 percent of children in the US see a doctor at least once a year, which means countless hours spent in waiting rooms for parents. It's time to invest in face-to-face training that empowers employees to have difficult conversations, says Tamekia MizLadi Smith. In a witty, …. The universe is incredibly old, astoundingly vast and populated by trillions of planets -- so where are all the aliens? Astronomer Stephen Webb has …. History is written by the victors, as the saying goes -- but what would it look like if it was written by everyone?

Once your smart devices can talk to you, who else are they talking to? Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu wanted to find out -- so they outfitted Hill's apartment with 18 different internet-connected devices and built a …. Rebeca Hwang has spent a lifetime juggling identities -- Korean heritage, Argentinian upbringing, education in the United States -- and for a long ….

What if you could search the surface of the Earth the same way you search the internet? Will Marshall and his team at Planet use the world's largest …. Robb Willer studies the forces that unite and divide us. As a social psychologist, he researches how moral values -- typically a source of division …. In a stirring, emotional performance, violinist Lili Haydn plays a selection from her musical "The Last Serenade. Millions of baby boomers are moving into their senior years with empty pockets and declining choices to earn a living. And right behind them is a younger generation facing the same challenges.

In this deeply personal …. At MIT, Dina Katabi and her team are working on a bold new way to monitor patients' vital signs in a hospital or even at home , without wearables or …. There are about a hundred trillion microbes living inside your gut -- protecting you from infection, aiding digestion and regulating your immune ….

From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream
From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream
From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream
From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream
From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream
From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream
From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream From the Hood to Harvard: Capturing the American Dream

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