Individualism In American Culture

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The United States Declaration of Independence, adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776, not only granted America its freedom, but also inspired what later became known as American individualism. It can be seen in many aspects of American life: from child rearing to the way we greet each other, to even the way we serve and eat our food. We value individual achievements and promote the endeavor for independence as freedom remains of paramount importance in American culture. In my opinion, our culture places a very high emphasis on individuality.
One of the most common greetings in the US is “Hi, how are you?” In comparison, the most common greeting in the Russian language, for example, would roughly translate into a generic “I wish you health”. Despite
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It is not customary to share a plate with other people. Instead, food is served on individual plates so that everyone has their own portion. Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel notes: “The proper American way was to have each kind of food piled up on your plate at once” (261). Amparo B. Ojeda, the author of “Growing Up American: Doing the Right Thing” was amazed to see that even children were free to order individual meals at the restaurant: “I was fascinated by [children’s] quite independent and assertive behavior… When the food finally came, I was completely shocked by the portions each child had… Just as I feared, they left their portions only partially eaten. What a waste, I thought” (231). I believe this tradition goes hand in hand with the utmost respect for personal space that is of a paramount importance in American …show more content…
American children often have their own private rooms since the young age. It is common to reward adolescence with money for doing their chores or getting good grades at school. This promotes endeavor for individual achievement and financial success as the means to gain more freedom. Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel, the author of “Individualism as an American Cultural Value”, writes: “[American children] rarely get any gifts free of obligations… As they grow up, they are conditioned to earn things they want… From an early age, children are taught to become progressively independent economically from their parents” (262). The same is true for the elderly; the older generation is rarely cared by their children as the ties between the generations are comparatively loose. It is worth mentioning, that although earning money is promoted, ultimately it is the child’s decision. On the contrary, in many other countries, Japanese being one of them, adolescents are deprived of the right to choose. Tomoyuki Iwashita, who wrote “Why I Quit the Company” notes: “…Japan’s education and socialization processes do not equip people with the intellectual and spiritual resources to question and challenge the status quo. They stamp out even the desire for a different kind of life” (172). Unlike children in many other countries, Americans are encouraged to aspire to become whoever it is they decide to

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