Signs of American Life

This essay assignment asks you to select and analyze a recognizable brand name, and consider how it reveals something distinctive about American culture. We have been reading essays that think about some uniquely American concepts: restlessness amidst prosperity, what it means to “become an American.” Using one of the essays in this unit as a starting point, choose a popular brand name and discuss what it “sells”—that is, besides the product, what are the values, images, and ideas marketed here? How does this brand name (restaurant, clothing brand, food brand, institution, etc) accomplish this? And how does it provide evidence for your ideas about American culture?

Your essay should make use of the in-class readings in this unit and utilize careful observations and description in order to provide credible evidence for your analysis. In other words, your analysis of the popular brand name should provide the support for your opinion about American culture.


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