"Self-Made Man" from American Dreams: Lost and Found by Studs Terkel

Prepared by Dr. Loretta Kasper

In this week's assignment, you will continue exploring the themes presented in Chapter Three, "Self-Made Man," by doing research some additional "self-made men."

To complete your research, you should go to our SEARCH PAGE. You will need to think of appropriate keywords to search for information to answer the questions. We suggest that you use either the Vivisimo or the Google search engine to do your research.

Here are your research issues and questions:

  • Although Studs Terkel uses the term "Self-Made Man," ingenuity and success are not limited by a person's gender. Both men and women may be "self-made."

    Think of TWO additional "self-made people." These people may be businessmen, entertainers, politicians, educators, writers, etc. The only restriction is that one of these people should be a woman.

    As a whole or in groups, the class should brainstorm to suggest some possible people who fit the definition of "self-made."

  • Write a well-organized essay of several paragraphs in which you identify who each person is and describe why you believe that s/he is a "self-made person". In your response, please be sure to address the following points:

    1. Why do you believe that each individual fits the definition of "self-made?"
    2. What type of backgrounds did each individual come from?
    3. What event(s) led each individual to his/her success?
    4. What obstacles did each individual have to overcome on the road to success? Were these obstacles greater if the individual was a woman?
    5. What was each individual's basic philosophy? How did this philosophy impact his/her success?

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Professor of English

Site last updated on
October 27, 2003

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