Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Journal #4

One of the first things that we learned was the availability of healthcare and services such as social workers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, dentists.

Moreover, before reading the book, most of us thought that the people living in shelters would be bums who didn’t try to help themselves out of the situations, but it is not the case. Shepard saw both types of people at the shelter. There were people fell upon hard times and who were working to get their lives back on track. There were others who were satisfied by living there, and using their money to buy drugs, cigarettes or alcohol instead of saving money to move out on their own.

We all agreed on a point: he basically made up a story that was a necessary action to be accepted, but ethically, it was wrong. Plus, he could have offended some of the other residents of the shelter, especially those who he became friend with, because he didn’t tell the truth. They didn’t really know who he was. He chose to be in that situation whereas all the people he met throughout his experience didn’t. He could have easily gotten out of this status whenever he wanted. Although it was necessary for his experiment, it didn’t seem right to use services that are reserved for people who really need them. He got discounts on the bus fare, and received food stamps which takes away resources that other people in need could have used.

If we were only considering that Shepard’s exploration of the homeless subculture, he probably could have gathered a lot of information. Indeed, he could have done so by researching, interviewing, looking at statistics of homeless people’s employment rate and how often they return to the shelter. He could have looked for their statistics of income and if there is an increase or decrease throughout the year of residents at shelters. He could interview people that came from a bad background and made it big. However, since his ultimate goal was to prove if the American Dream was still a reality, his method choice was probably his best shot.

Shepard concludes saying that the United States of America is the best place for class mobility. He finds out that it is possible to make it from the bottom of the scale in American society. His goal was more to demonstrate that the American Dream is still alive and not only an illusion even we are in time of recession than exploring the subculture of homeless people. He totally succeeded on that point, since all the goals he had before the beginning of his experience were achieved in 6 months. Indeed, by that time, he already had a furnished apartment, a car, a job and more than $2,500 on his bank account. Some people discuss his success because of his background: he had no health problems, psychological disorders. Moreover, he was white and basically could not suffer from any discrimination. Even though those theses are approved by some people, Shepard’s experiment is still remarkable. If he had enough courage and envy to get out of his status whereas he was not in “real” danger – he could have given up his project and come back to his real life – we could expect people in “real” need to put even more effort in this process of social status raise and eventually search for the American Dream. It was successful. He did a case study where he was the case and showed that the American Dream is attainable

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Matt - Organizer Epilogue

Adam Shepard makes several statements regarding the American Dream at the end of his book. He comments on how the definition of the American Dream has changed since America’s creation. Early on in the 20th century many people sold everything they had to come to America; they had hopes of finding a way to become financially sound. This is still true, today, but happiness has become a major part of the American Dream. Many people find happiness within their current lifestyles without finding excessive wealth. Adam Shepard realizes the American Dream is still alive and thriving; people have just changed their focus in life, and the American Dream reflects this.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nick - Voc Epilogue

Epilogue, p. 211: Didactic- intended for instruction.

Epilogue, p. 211: Narcoleptic- a condition characterized by frequent and uncontrollable periods of deep sleep.

Epilogue, p. 212: Vitality- power to live or grow.

Epilogue, p. 213: Abound- to occur or exist in great quantities or numbers.

Epilogue, p. 214: Amendable- to alter, modify, rephrase, or add to or subtract from.

Epilogue, p. 216: Vernacular- native or indigenous.

Epilogue, p. 216: Coalition- a union into one body or mass.

Epilogue, p. 217: Subsidizing- to furnish or aid.

Epilogue, p. 217: Apathetic- not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive.

Epilogue, p. 220: Plight- a condition, state, or situation, esp. an unfavorable or unfortunate one.

Sophia- Quizzer Epilogue

Q: What are some of the horror stories that Adam did not talk about?
A: Some of the stories that Adam did not talk about was not because they were not important but because otherwise his book would have been about 100 more pages. He could have talked more about the stories about the war from other people at the shelter, The guy that was stabbed with a six inch blade outside of the shelter and later the next day came in and was showing everybody it, about other moves that he did like to Florida and Virginia, or about the quarrels that he a BG got into. Other stories that he could have talked about was a crack-ring bust that happened in their neighborhood and when he escorted a narcoleptic pothead to Tennessee.

Q: Why does Adam refer to us all as pilots?
A: Because we all have to choose what we want to do in life whether we want to try to move up in our lives or we just want to sit there and just make it by. When people are at the bottom they should take less time off and not go on as many big vacation. That way they can work and save up enough money to be more stable.

Q: Adam says that the “American Dream” is so much more than it used to be, what does he say it is now? What did it used to be?
A: The “American Dream” used to be that a European would sell all of his goods and sail to America with only $100. He would work in the factories so that his children would have the opportunity to school. Also he would get married and have 2.5 children. But now the “American Dream” is not only about financial ambition, but about having the chance to work hard for what you want and about fining happiness and solace.

Q: Adam says that we should go out and help the unprivileged people. What are some of the things that he suggests?
A: First of all just paying taxes is not enough. People should pick up the phone, volunteer, talk to a parent about his or her questionable behavior, or make a loan that does not need to be paid back. Another thing that people can do is go to the local school and volunteer after school to work with the children. Some of the things that they can do are read to the children, help them with fractions, or teach them how to play different games or sports. Doing these things won’t only make the person doing them feel good, but also the child who they are helping.

Celia - Summary Epilogue

In the epilogue, Adam explains that he exceeded his own expectations. As the chapters go by, his social ascension is totally observable and he reaches his goals after 6 months only. He ended his project earlier because of his mother’s cancer, but if he had continued all the way, he would have very easily doubled his resources.

Adams talks about the stereotypes that he had about homelessness prior to his experience. As many people do, he didn’t know all the resources that the shelters had and all the services that they could offer to the people in need. Also, he admits that he supposed that all the homeless shelter residents would be “old, hairy and smelly.” His experience showed him that some people are unfortunately victims of fate.

Later in the epilogue, Adam spend a while talking about his country and how great it is. He realized that this experiment would have turned out very differently in another country in Latin America, Asia or Africa. He proudly deems that he lives in the “greatest country in the world,” and explains that the USA is a place where opportunities are everywhere if people adopt the good attitudes. He thinks that too many people are in an “it ain’t my fault” spiral and keep complaining instead of taking responsibilities.

From that point, he insists on the fact that people should be increase their responsibilities within their own communities and stop waiting for the government’s actions.
Finally, Shepard thinks that besides his College education, his life is pretty much like before his experience. He plans on keeping the same tactics and techniques to save money that he assimilated throughout his year.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nick - Organizer # 7

The things pictured above show deal with the closing chapters of the book. Shepard owns a truck and is renting an apartment with a person named BG. BG takes Shepard's truck for long periods of time and doesn't tell Shepard the truth of where he has been. Because of these happenings Shepard starts a fight with BG and gets beat up in their apartment. He said that blood was everywhere because he cracked his head on the floor. The final picture is a calendar. This represents the time that Shepard has spent on his experiment. He was only able to complete nine months out of the year long time span he was planning on, due to a family emergency.

Sophia- Vocabulary Ch 15-16

Deadpan (pg 209)- a face showing no expression.

Eloquently (pg 210)- having or exercising the power of fluent, forceful, and appropriate speech

Indolent (pg 212)- having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion; slothful

Debacle (pg 213)- a general breakup or dispersion; sudden downfall or rout

Reminisce (pg 213)- To recollect and tell of past experiences or events.

Chemotherapy (pg215)- the treatment of disease by means of chemicals that have a specific toxic
effect upon the disease-producing microorganisms or that selectively destroy cancerous tissue.

Horrendous (pg217)- appalling, frightful, hideous.

Aura (pg 219)- a distinctive and pervasive quality or character

Cronies (pg 220)- a close friend or companion; chum.

Mischievous (pg 222)- maliciously or playfully annoying.