Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
    keannu is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    the assertiveness that characterized the American family familir to readers of Americ

    Is the writer trying to say "advanced technology made Americans helpless in fixing gadgets or technical things" or "some hidden trend made them helpless"? I don't get the theme, especially the underlined. I need someone to tell me the theme.

    ex)I think the observable reluctance of the majority of Americans to assert themselves in minor matters is related to our increased sense of helplessness in an age of technology and centralized political and economic power. For generations, Americans who were too hot, or too cold, got up and did something about it. Now we call the plumber, or the electrician, or the furnace man. The habit of looking after our own needs obviously had something to do with the assertiveness that characterized the American family familiar to readers of American literature. With the technification of life goes our direct responsibility for our material environment, and we are conditioned to accepting a position of helplessness not only as regards the broken air conditioner, but as regards the over-heated train. It takes an expert to fix the former, but not the latter; yet these distinctions, as we withdraw into helplessness, tend to fade away.
    Last edited by keannu; 07-Nov-2011 at 16:02.

  2. #2
    JohnParis's Avatar
    JohnParis is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • France
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    774
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: the assertiveness that characterized the American family familir to readers of Am

    Hello Keannu,

    I think you are more or less correct in your assessment of the meaning of the entire paragraph when you say "advanced technology made Americans helpless in fixing gadgets or technical things."

    But, the part you have underlined speaks about an earlier time when Americans were used to looking after their own needs as evidenced by the portrayal of the American family in early American literature. Readers were familiar with reading about families that were self-reliant and almost "MacGyveresque" (my word, don't bother looking it up, but you can Google MacGyver TV Series) in their ability to fix all things human and spiritual.

    I take issue with one thing the author of your text writes: He says "
    It takes an expert to fix the former (an air conditioner), but not the latter (an over-heated train)". The writer has obviously never ridden on a bullet train (TGV in Europe) in summer.

    John

  3. #3
    keannu's Avatar
    keannu is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: the assertiveness that characterized the American family familir to readers of Am

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnParis View Post
    Hello Keannu,

    I think you are more or less correct in your assessment of the meaning of the entire paragraph when you say "advanced technology made Americans helpless in fixing gadgets or technical things."

    But, the part you have underlined speaks about an earlier time when Americans were used to looking after their own needs as evidenced by the portrayal of the American family in early American literature. Readers were familiar with reading about families that were self-reliant and almost "MacGyveresque" (my word, don't bother looking it up, but you can Google MacGyver TV Series) in their ability to fix all things human and spiritual.

    I take issue with one thing the author of your text writes: He says "
    It takes an expert to fix the former (an air conditioner), but not the latter (an over-heated train)". The writer has obviously never ridden on a bullet train (TGV in Europe) in summer.

    John
    I don't need to goole "Macgyver TV series" as me and my generation were crazy about watching the TV series in '80s when we were highschoolers, He was our hero who took away so many girls' hearts.hehehe. It seems they could do technical things easily long time ago as they were not that complicated, but the evolution of technology to much more advanced goods made Americans unable to hand them.
    So there's no other reason for their helplessness except the difficult handling as, I guessed, any social or economic trend, right?

  4. #4
    JohnParis's Avatar
    JohnParis is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • France
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    774
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: the assertiveness that characterized the American family familir to readers of Am

    Do you think the inability to repair or operate complicated electronic or mechanical devices is limited to just Americans? Really.
    It is neither a social nor economic trend. It is a universal trend towards highly specialized training in all nations and all societies. I know a well respected, highly skilled, neurosurgeon who saved the life of a vice-president of the United States years ago and this genius cannot reconcile his personal bank account. He leaves it to his wife. It's just too complicated for him. We - and I mean mankind - are dependent upon technology that few of us know how it works, how to repair it or what to do if it breaks down for any length of time. Just a few years ago, many said that we were heading towards total dependency on technologies we knew nothing about. Well, I believe that this day has come and gone. Can you change the battery on an iPhone? Luckily I use a BlackBerry (but I only found the button to open the battery a week ago).

    John

  5. #5
    keannu's Avatar
    keannu is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4,519
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: the assertiveness that characterized the American family familir to readers of Am

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnParis View Post
    Do you think the inability to repair or operate complicated electronic or mechanical devices is limited to just Americans? Really.
    It is neither a social nor economic trend. It is a universal trend towards highly specialized training in all nations and all societies. I know a well respected, highly skilled, neurosurgeon who saved the life of a vice-president of the United States years ago and this genius cannot reconcile his personal bank account. He leaves it to his wife. It's just too complicated for him. We - and I mean mankind - are dependent upon technology that few of us know how it works, how to repair it or what to do if it breaks down for any length of time. Just a few years ago, many said that we were heading towards total dependency on technologies we knew nothing about. Well, I believe that this day has come and gone. Can you change the battery on an iPhone? Luckily I use a BlackBerry (but I only found the button to open the battery a week ago).

    John
    You are absolutely right!!! ut I have a little doubt for "centralized political and economic power. " for why he mentioned this that seems unrelated.

Similar Threads

  1. It's characterized?
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 17-Oct-2009, 16:57
  2. The American Family
    By cuchoangthi in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 31-Dec-2008, 17:51
  3. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-Nov-2008, 01:07
  4. self-introduction to american host family in english
    By shundot in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 28-Mar-2008, 13:55
  5. Assertiveness test ?????
    By welshparent in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Sep-2006, 00:38

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •