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    #1

    every rite of American passage

    ‘From cradle to grave, the car marks every rite of American passage.'

    I have no idea what it means. Could anybody explain it to me please? Thanks!

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: every rite of American passage

    Quote Originally Posted by lauraguan View Post
    ‘From cradle to grave, the car marks every rite of American passage.'

    I have no idea what it means. Could anybody explain it to me please? Thanks!
    Have a look at this link Rite of passage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia it explains the meaning of "rite of passage", this might help you to understand the sentence.

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: every rite of American passage

    We Americans do love our cars! If you don't live in an urban area with very good public transportation, then as a rule you'll probably own a car. And, for most Americans, the type of car you own as you age somewhat chronicles your life. The legal age to get a driver's license in most states is 16, so the majority of teenagers start saving to buy their first car (unless they've got wealthy/very generous parents) as soon as they get their first job. Usually a teen's first car is an inexpensive used car, but he/she will care for it as if it's a Rolls Royce because it's their Very First Car. Young males immediately begin saving up for a splashy sports car for their next automobile purchase. Young 30-something professionals, once they're secure in their career and are earning a decent salary, often splurge and buy a pricey luxury car. When a person gets married and starts a family, out goes the sports car and in comes a van or mini-van so that they have room for the kids and the kids' friends and all their backpacks and sports equipment, etc. Sometimes when a man reaches, say, age 50 he hits a "midlife crisis" - he suddenly realizes that his youth has slipped away and he's heading toward retirement age. In a panic he'll try to recapture that youthful image by once again buying a sports car. Senior citizens tend to prefer larger cars, like Oldsmobiles (when they were still made), Buicks, Cadillacs and Lincolns. They feel safer when driving in large car, surrounded by tons of protective steel.

    Lots of Americans, particularly men, will often recount or reference periods in their past by the type of car they were driving at the time. For example, my Dad can't remember his wedding anniversary or even how old each of us kids are, but he remembers that he owned a Chevy that burned a lot of oil in 1957 or a Plymouth Valiant in 1965 or a Chevy Impala Station Wagon that always fishtailed at high speeds in 1970.

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    #4

    Re: every rite of American passage

    Thank you very much, Ouisch! Your information has been really useful!

  3. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: every rite of American passage

    Ouisch`s post is interesting and accurate, but for me the original quote is an absurdity. Many Americans do live in urban areas, with adequate public transportation and never have need of a car. The US is a very large country, as are China, Russia, Brazil and Canada. So, when we talk about "American culture," it`s important to remember that Americans aren`t a monolithic people. The culture of N.Y.C. is very different from the culture of Panguitch, Utah, just as the culture of Rio de Janeiro is very different from that of Santarem on the Amazon River.

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    #6

    Re: every rite of American passage

    I disagree. Americans are well known as a culture to be car obsessed. The ability to go where we want, when we want is very much part of what makes us Americans. It is the fruition of the individual rights upon which our nation was founded.

    There are isolated spots (Manhattan comes to mind) where adults might live and not drive a car, but these are the exception not the norm.

    A car is indispensible in other cities in the US. Yes, many people do without but that is because of economic circumstances, not by choice.

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