by Ari Shapiro
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
From 'The World Before Him'
- Horatio Alger, Jr.
In this excerpt from The World Before Him (1902), author Horatio Alger, Jr. perfectly captures the hopeful vision of success in America’s Gilded Age through the eyes of a young country boy.Pair “The World Before Him” with “American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality,” and ask students to discuss how the idea of optimism and luck is portrayed in each text. Has the world changed dramatically since 1902?
From Lithuania to the Chicago Stockyards
- Antanas Kaztauskis
In this short memoir, a Lithuanian immigrant tells of his hopes, struggles, and successes throughout his experience coming to America.Pair “American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality” with “From Lithuania to the Chicago Stockyards” to give students a more robust sense of the history of the American Dream, and the role that immigrants played in the formation of it.
Hollywood Dreams of Wealth, Youth, and Beauty
- Bob Mondello
This article looks at how Hollywood films since the 1900s have depicted life in America and how they have helped manufacture the American Dream.Pair “Hollywood Dreams of Wealth, Youth, and Beauty” with “American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality” and ask students to describe the evolution of the American Dream over the course of America’s history.
America and I
- Anzia Yezierska
Anzia Yezierska (1880-1970) was a Jewish-American immigrant and novelist known for her writing on immigration, assimilation, and Jewish-American lives. "America and I" is Yezierska's short essay about her struggles adapting to her new country.Pair “American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality” with “America and I” and ask students to discuss the concept of the American Dream. Are there any differences between the American Dream described in this article versus Yezierska’s experience?
The US has become a nation of suburbs
- Christopher Boone
In the informational text “The US has become a nation of suburbs,” Christopher Boone discusses how Americans tend to prefer living in suburbs.Pair “American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality” with “The US has become a nation of suburbs” and ask students to discuss how the American Dream has changed over time. Do you think it’s still the American Dream to live in a house in the suburbs? Why or why not? Do students think this will be the American Dream in the future?