Topics: Culture, Individualism, Sociology Pages: 3 (858 words) Published: October 23, 2013
Intro: “Stop and smell the roses.”

Thesis: Modern-day American culture is immersed in self-interest. This self-interest is shown through a huge emphasis on individual success and productivity. However, this causes a loss of cultural values because success is valued more highly than other values such as family, tradition, storytelling, etc. Americans value productivity and competition and this hinders cultural development because it encourages the growth of the individual rather than the group.

Body Paragraph #1: Self-interest through success and productivity -Constantly be working- (to get what one wants)
-Compete against others for what you want

Central to the American culture are ideas of success and productivity, which are enhanced by competition. Additionally, in “Why the Americans Are So Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity,” Tocqueville writes, “When men are nearly alike and all follow the same track, it is very difficult for any one individual to walk quickly and cleave a way through the dense throng that surrounds and presses on him,” (2). Americans feel that in order to stand out and highlight their unique qualities, they need to compete. Competition is an agent that helps rank people into different categories. In Crevecoeur’s, “What is an American?” he writes, “We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained, because each person works for himself,” (1). Crevecoeur explains that Americans work for themselves, which makes us think we have to compete against one another to succeed. Such an atmosphere restricts success to only a few individuals and bolsters feelings of negativity, which are not apparent in other cultures where cooperativity and teamwork are encouraged.

Body Paragraph #2: Loss of cultural values
The American emphasis on success leads to unrealistic expectations and leads to a loss of personal growth. In “An Indian Father’s Plea”, Grizzly Bear Lake writes,...
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