2 assignments, american dream paragraph & essay . due by midnight



For the practice assignment, students must write a summary paragraph defining the concept of the American dream. Identify, summarize, and write a definition of the American dream. The source of the definition can be a book or an online database. Use the MLA documentation style to accurately cite the source. See the Defining section under Developing Paragraphs/Strategies for Developing the Main Point in The Little Seagull Handbook.


The length of the summary paragraph should be about one page. Submit the assignment as directed by the instructor.

Complete the following when writing the summary paragraph.

  • Students should expand upon the definition of the American dream by giving an example of what their family has achieved or are attempting to achieve to fulfill their dream. Consider the following questions. What is the American dream? Has the effort to achieve the dream been inspiring or frustrating?
  • Check the summary for accuracy and give credit to the author of the article (or the title of the article if no author is listed) through the use of a citation in the text of the paragraph. Provide a Works Cited entry for the source of the definition at the end of the paragraph.



After practicing using definitions to write a paragraph on the American dream, students are ready to begin writing the definition essay. The prompt (topic) for the definition essay is what word or definition represents the student’s dreams or interests?


To respond to the prompt — define a word or phrase that represents the student’s dreams or interests — students need to

  • Research the general meaning of the word or phrase
  • Define and explain what the word or phrase means to the student
  • Connect the dream or interest to the student’s landscape

The word or phrase defining the dream or interest may represent present time or the future. It may be a term or phrase that describes an interest. For example, perhaps the student is a budding singer or songwriter? A chef? An artist? What does the student dream of accomplishing? Is the student planning on becoming a teacher, a veterinarian, or a business manager?

Students could compare or contrast the word or phrase to experiences they think the reader is familiar with in order to explain the meaning. Or, the student might choose to analyze why it is of interest (the causes) or how its influences (the effects). Be aware that the use of examples and descriptive writing will also be necessary. The essay must include at least two quotations or summaries of material from two different types of sources in support of the definition. The sources may come from an Internet site (Wikipedia and other similar online sites are not valid sources for research), an electronic database, or a book.

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