We Are All Third Generation

We Are All Third Generation

  • Submitted By: Smitty
  • Date Submitted: 11/28/2008 1:31 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1064
  • Page: 5
  • Views: 4

In Margaret Mead’s “We Are All Third Generation,” she diagrams her interpretation of the progression of American society. Starting with the original immigrants, or First Generation Americans, she attempts to explain not only their mentality, but their ambition for a better way of life that differs from their parents. Mead goes on to later state that the mentality shift of first generation Americans (from here out to be referred to as first gens) was the beginning of what would eventually be the American attitude. That mentality shift started with the need to be something better. It progressed through the generations, “snowballing” if you will, into a full-blown way of life that, in essence, defines American society its and social structure that we see today. In this essay, I will attempt to explain that mentality and give examples by applying them to my own family.

Today’s Americans are easily recognizable no matter where they are or what they are doing. So what makes them stick out like a sore thumb? The answer to that question, according to Mead, lies with first generation Americans and the impact of their, then considered, rebellious attitudes (rebellious definition circa 19th century). However, in my opinion, modern day mentality did not begin to surface with the first generation Americans as much as it did with the second generation. Save for a select few (the founding fathers for example), the first gens did in this new country, basically the same thing that they did in their home overseas. The Farmers farmed, the politicians politicized, and the drinkers drank. It was not until the second generation Americans reached adolescence that the true modern mentality began to take shape.

The second generation of Americans saw in their parents something that they did not want to be. Building upon the example set by their parents (although I doubt that was how the second generation looked at the situation) they began to develop a taste...

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