Final Task: American Dream
Since last year, I've been helping a family friend (in highschool), whom I will call "the Royal Shrimp" [her choice of pseudonyme] improve her English. This year, I helped her mostly with her "final tasks", a special homework that English teachers ask their pupils to do at the end of a thematic "sequence".
One of those final tasks came at the end of a sequence about the American dream, and her teacher asked the class to express what "American dream" meant to them or what they understood about it... in an artistic way! A lot of them made drawings, and my pupil got afraid because she's not an artist.
I therefore tried to reassure her and explained that art is not only about drawing and painting. What matters is what you express and how you do it. This was a homework for an English class after all, and what do we - she and I - master best about it? The English language and what's somehow linked to it.
That's how I convinced her that we could write a poem. And here it comes!
Once upon a dream
by The Royal Shrimp and Myself
They had a dream
An American dream
They came from far away
They reached the bay
To escape the misery
Of their own country
They were supposed to find a land
But instead, they found an island
They discovered of a new place
Where there was not enough space
They showed their passport
To get a transport
But realized they had no support
To reach their Neverland
As soon as they left Elis Island
Their dream would come to an end.
He had a dream
An American dream
That his “four little children”
Would live in a nation
Where the skin colour
They walked peacefully
Three times in Montgomery
To make a change, hopefully
And they got it, eventually.
44 years later,
Despite the hater(s)
They cast their ballot
And not their bullet
They chose a black president
Thinking only of his talent.
The idea was to work on themes that the Royal Shrimp is very much interested in: the Civil Rights Movement and Elis Island (mostly because she's been to New-York several times already). She is also interested in the characters of Barack and Michelle Obama, so we tried to draw a comparison of something that went wrong and something that can be thought of as a good consequence of the Civil Rights Movement.
Beforehand, in order to convince her to write a poem for this "artistic" task - which poem was very much praised by her teacher anyway - I decided to pretend that I had to complete the assignement as a student, and here's what I came up with:
I also provided a detailed explanation for the choices I made here:
- the map shows that I have understood the historical roots of the American dream: the colonisation of the New world and the conquest of the West
- the map is about the past, but the goal is about the present/future: a girl who dreams of ninjas and CAN become President, that's what feminism aims at. And indeed, isn't gender equality a new form of the American dream? (ie shouldn't everyone be able to access it regardless of gender, just as it was originally supposed to be regardless of origin?)
- by using 3 colours, I can convey two messages with only one text: the title, and what I think it means or how I understand it (cf. "I can" + the colours of the American flag)
- this may be Route 66, another American symbol for ''going westwards''
And what about you? If you were asked to express yourself about the American Dream in an artistic manner, what would you do?
Tags : USA, history, art, #AmericanDream, American Dream, poetry
CommentairesAucun commentaire pour le moment
Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires
Ajouter un commentaire