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Is america falling apart anthony burgess thesis writing

Read “Is America Falling Apart?” Norton Reader p. 181

Read “Is America Falling Apart?” Norton Reader p. 181 by Anthony Burgess

A. In a few sentences, discuss what does Burgess argues and what reasons does he give to support his argument? (This should have been done in class and turned in. If absent, complete at home and turn in)

B. How does Burgess develop his argument throughout the essay? Read the example response and then finish the response by answering with chunks 4 & 5

Burgess introduces his essay by establishing his perspective and background in attempting to build the framework on which he argues; a comparison between the working class attitudes in Italy and America. Burgess first presents an argument on consumption, critically recognizing “a family’s strength is signalized by its possessions.” He extends this discussion to address the lack of quality transportation in America, a consequence of individuals not holding an attitude of reform. He also suggests America would economically benefit from a lesson in socialism, addressing the culture’s distrust of anything but democracy. He continues to build his argument by presenting first hand accounts of evidence: his experiences with the demise of education, allusions to history that America “rejects,” and condemnations of American society. He then turns the essay to present a positive view of America (according to the European perspective) recognizing this was a place in which the opportunity for “progress was possible”. Finish 4 & 5

C. Identify some of Burgess’s Claims about America that you agree, disagree, or qualify with. (Choose 2-3 quotes to represent these ideas).

D. Though written in 1971 with hyperbole, does Burgess’s claim have any merit in contemporary American society? (Consider if anything would be added, left out or modified) Support your answer with evidence from your observation, experience, or reading.

Is america falling apart anthony burgess thesis writing No complaints except what

1. Restate in your own words what the author is writing about whether this statements is an idea that you agree / disagree or agree with to an extent or under certain circumstances.

Although changing governing systems can be economically and socially beneficial at times, Burgess’s assertion that elements of socialism would help America prosper undercuts the foundational philosophy this country was built on: democracy and certain inalienable rights.

or Although the idea of changing strategies in governing systems is controversial, Burgess is correct in saying.

2. What does the author do?

In his 1971 essay, Burgess misses the proper solution for America when he states elements of socialism should be considered as a potential solution for America’s economic and social woes.

3. Where can your point be seen?

The consequences of Burgess assertion can be seen in local health policies, and other governmental decisions regarding economics for the masses (i.e food stamp qualifications), and decisions affecting privacy in regards to recent internet policies established for the people’s “best interest”.

4. 2nd paragraph – 1st body paragraph support your assertion with an example

Burgess suggests more socialist elements as the solution for America (291). The dilemma is that when the government becomes involved in any area of life, freedoms are taken away.

Is america falling apart anthony burgess thesis writing now the pollution

A recent example is a “freedom crisis” in Prince George County, Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C. The state attorney, a judge, and school officials believe that it is necessary for students to get vaccinated in order to attend school. They are forcing every student to get vaccinated or the parents will be sent to jail (Md.). This is the inevitable result of people allowing the government to make decisions for them. Freedoms are always relinquished when programs are implemented for the “greater good.” The crisis in Prince George County is an example which illustrates the danger of the conclusion Burgess came to as a result of his misunderstanding of America. The fear of Americans was realized: Government interference took away freedoms. This justifies the deeply-rooted anti-government sentiment that can be traced all the way back to the founding of this nation when the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, were written to protect the citizens from the government (United). This anti-government sentiment takes root all the way back to the early colonists: “The great majority left Europe to worship God in the way they believed to be correct” (Library).

He could possilby add more about the American Constitution and why he feels it is out of date.

Interestingly, enough Burgess foresaw the American future even in 1971. Truthfully, I don’t think leaving anything out of this essay would change it in todays light.

We as Americans are still wholly dependent on our vehicles…especially here in Texas. With gas prices hovering at three dollars a gallon we are still driving our vehicles. Unlike European nations who over time developed large mass transportation systems we have not. Yes, in the North East of America there is mass transit. However it is not an interstate system. As Burgess says traveling from Springfield, MA to Penn Station, in New York on a train is not an easy trip. We are just too dependent on our vehicles and our freedom.

We are also a rushed society. Americans want to do things in the quickest time possible. Europeans have learned to live with leisure. Europeans enjoy taking the time to do things. They look at Americanized items such as a “SWIFTER” as a joke. They sold very poorly in Europe. Too many American parents work far too much and can’t even spend 30 minutes a day with their children. It as become so common place that we see this as a reoccurring theme on reality shows.

If this essay was written today I think Burgess would certainly be discussing the approval rating of the current president (the lowest of any president except Richard Nixon) and trying to find a relation to the President and the “Falling Apart of America.

If Burgess were to write this essay today he might add the examples of some of the differnet crimes that are going on. For example, the shooting that took place where someone in a truck shot one of the passengers on the METRO bus. He could also include the acts of road rage that go on without any motives. Even though Burgess already added it in the essay I like the way he pointed out how men and women should fear the police as much as the criminals do. This shows that even though this essay was written in 1971 some of the same things were still going on and it has just gotten worser than what it was before. It is only a matter of time when someone will have to write an essay entitled, “When America Fell Apart”.

You’re right, he does gloss over that. what do you think he might mean by it?

He could also elaborate on a system of government in the United States that is dedicated to the promotion of personal wealth and not public good.

He could also elaborate on a system of government in the United States that is dedicated to the promotion of personal wealth and not public good.

Excellent points, George. Do you think he would weigh in on the war in Iraq as well, or the broader, less defined “war on terrorism?” (Sadly, we won’t know, since Burgess died.)

Pinky–it is sad to realize how much has not changed, isn’t it?

Burgess might add more today about the polluted America. Today pollution is very harmful to our health and the ozone. If you watch the news, they have a short segment in the weather letting you know if there is an ozone alert. When the alert is high people with health problems are ask to stay inside.

Yes, I do think the War in Iraq would have a substantial part in this essay if it were written today. Imagine a war most Americans don’t want to be involved in. It’s like we are reliving Vietnam.

Burgess would probably modify how the gas prices changed. Not only that but to think that there are more cars than back in 1971. He probably add on the immigration issues going on today, since hes from another country/continent. He talks about how supposedly America is the best country, but America is the main cause of pollution and is no better or less than that of Europe. He would add on, today, that America is probably now the worse country to live in. He talks about how America and Europe are different when consuming doctors, food, and different luxuries. He would probably add on that most of the big jobs are now leaving America. I would like to ask myself “IS AMERICA FALLING APART?” or will it get better? I wonder if he would feel the same way about America now than what he did in 1971.

It’s interesting, too, George, that Burges does mention Vietnam in paragraph 15, as a sign that Americans are at last realizing that “they are subject to original sin as much as Europeans are.” I’m sure he was rolling in his grave when the Abu Graib scandal broke out.

Karen, I agree with you that the environment is much more of a talked-about problem today; but I wonder if you think we have come any further than we were at the time of this essay, when Burgess wrote that we are aware of our status as a huge polluter, but it “doesn’t appreciably lead to repentence and revolution in consumer habits.” Have we begun to change?

Burgess says, “a bloody civil war, followed by a dictatorship of religious fantices, followed by a calm respite in which the seeds of a revolution were sown. English survived. America will survive.” Haha well obviously religious fantices still play a pretty big part in the U.S, expecialy after 9/11. So I’m guessing Burgess would have still said that. But something he would have added would be the that the ozone layer is getting all kinds of messed up, because of humans and there “stupedity.” He would also mention how America is now being run. and how much better America was 40 years ago. That is exactly what he would say, America just is not what is was 40 years ago. and how everything we are doing in society now is just not correct.

Good observations, Mandy. The immigration issue and the out-sourcing of jobs are both huge issues today (and no doubt can trace their roots back to 1971 somehow), but I don’t know if I or Burgess would agree with you that America is the worst country to live in–surely our freedoms and rights and our ability to change our own socio-economic position put us ahead of many places. (Not to mention that America is still the best place for women.)

Personally, from reading the essay and trying to find differences in the world of today and the world of yesterday. there really aren’t any differences. It was difficult for me to sit there and say, “Well Burgess, too bad you aren’t here now because things have changed.” Actually, forget difficult, I DIDN’T THINK IT AT ALL!

His perception of America and it’s Government would be the same. His view of the society would be the same. His feelings toward continental relationships would be the same. I don’t know, I guess instead of talking about the Vietnam War, he’d talk about the War on Terrorism. Instead of speaking about the Government as a whole entity, he might just discuss George W. Bush (since EVERYONE seems to think he IS the entire government entity). Not much else would change I don’t believe.

p.s. Even though I don’t agree with him on everything, and believe that this of course does NOT describe every single American citizen, I do feel that his essay could have very well been written today, April 27, 2006, as a summary of the majority of the American people. That, I do agree with.

I wonder what Burgess would make of our society today–our reality shows, our epidemic obesity, our idiot president, our love for casual dress, the increase of sex and violence on network tv, the lack of manners, the cell phones, the internet. my, things have changed, haven’t they?

No, I don’t feel as Americans we have changed. I do feel many efforts have been made but no change have occured. Most Americans want a change but don’t want to do what it takes in order to make that change possible.

You’re right, Jessica, about our increased awareness of the depletion of the ozone and other terrifying environmental problems. I like your observation about the role of “religious fanatics.” Maybe things have actually gotten worse in that regard?

Karen, I remember a time when Clinton was running for office and he mentioned the dirty word “sacrifice.” It was a risky thing for him to do–not that we’re unaware of our problems, or even the exent to which we have brought them on ourselves, but somehow, we are still not ready to recognize that we can’t have it all, all the time, and not experience dire consequences. It’s also ironic to me that a nation that thinks of itself–in some circles–as “Christian” would be so opposed to the idea of personal sacrifice for the greater good. Imagine if we had the kind of leaders who lead by example–George Bush in a hybrid car, the White House going solar. what a laugh.

Yes, the things we do today are different from the things they did yesterday. But in total, it’s all the same principle, the same way of thinking. Although they might be a little more extreme than in 1971, Burgess had harsh things to say then, and he’d have the same harsh things to say now, regardless of the different situations because in essence, they are all still the same TYPES of situations. So. still. no difference.

I see your point Amy. in other words, it would not be hard to imagine an essay of this title being written today, as we are still living in the shadow of our fear that our way of life is threatened. Is that fair to say?

No, I was just saying probably but on the contrary America is the best country to live in. No complaints except what everyone else complains about (BUSH).

We’ve all known it for decades. Yes, our society is practically being ripped apart by none other than ourselves. Mistake after mistake after mistake. But if you concentrate on Burgess’ thesis, you can understand that he is trying to vent his frustrations about EVERYTHING but at the same time, he is telling you that many many other countries have gone through worse and are STILL HERE.

Another issue that Burgess might add in his essay is another much debated argument: ABORTION. Today more people are open with their opinions about abortion and their stand on it whether it be pro-life or pro-choice. Not to say that this determining whether America si falling apart but in 1971 I doubt that you would see so many people openly debating this crucial subject.

It is funny that we can relate some of the things that were happening in 1971 is still going on in 2006. He talked about things. he talked about pre war and how that felt then and it is basically the same as we do today. he mentioned how people do more on there jobs than they are paid. I guess life just recycle itself.

he pretty much covered whats happing in America today, what he might of left out is that even though we might be falling apart. what we could do to fix this situation. for the most part we need unity

i think in Burgess assay he might add the america possition about terrorism and invase of iraq. By void that the price of the gas won’t be that high

I feel like the author is right on with his analogies of america and the direction it is headed in.The author is being point blank in making these comments even though they may offend some who read this and hold america on a pedestal. He was able to see how the road that america is on is leading america on a collision course for desaster. We as americans are in such a rush-rush world that we neglect the important issues and details that can result from that type of society.The only thing that changes with time is technology and humans create a way to mess that up.

I believe Burgess gives us a preview Of the enormous problems America is facing today. It’s as if he was looking into the future of todays society except now the pollution, crime, war, and education issues are probably ten times worse then when he first wrote about them,with the same solution, none.

It was hard for me to accept his argument because I didn’t see America like that in the 70’s, nor do I see it like that today. Sure we have our problems, but what country doesn’t? I wasn’t feeling him. Sorry.

If Burgess wanted to reelate 1971 to mordern times there isn’t too much of a change. The education is avaliable, but in some parts scarce. Texas and other states that are more wworried about standardized testing than teaching for the studebts future. Also,the consumption and pollution in America. He’s surely correct about these situations. Us as Americans are self- centerd at times, and it is sort of a everyman for him self pursaunewe have here.

If Burgess were to rewite this esay today i think he would 1st of all include that he prefers any contry in euorope to our present America. he would touch on the war, the enconomy and how there is no future for our youth with our political leaders leaving so much debt for our next generation, imagine if our fore-fathers did the same to our current leaders ( bush) there’s so much he could add in today but these our my top concerns.

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