American Study Guides

  • An American in Paris

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  • American Buffalo

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    American Buffalo is a play by David Mamet, published in 1975 and dealing with themes of betrayal, greed and miscommunication. The story centers on Don, Bobby and Teach who are plotting to steal a rare coin back from a man whom Don sold from his junk shop. Originally getting Bobby to commit the heist, Don is later convinced to have the more experienced Teach do it. After Bobby returns to the store trying to sell a very similar coin but refusing to say where he got it, suspicions arise.

  • An American Tragedy

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    An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, a young man raised by penniless religious fanatics. Clyde falls into a life of crime, flees his hometown, and becomes a foreman in the factory of his wealthy uncle. His uncle, though, does not permit him access to rarified social circles. Isolated and forbidden from interacting with the workers, Clyde begins clandestine romances with a poor worker and with a bored socialite. Eventually he murders the pregnant worker in an attempt to join high society, but he is caught and executed.

  • In the American Grain

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  • In the Garden of the North American Martyrs

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  • The American Language

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    The American Language is a book by H. L. Mencken published in 1919. The book examines spoken English in the United States, its many racial and regional variations. The book was an affront to English prescriptivism, an ideal of proper English language that excluded slang and Americanisms as legitimate words. Inspired by the language of African-Americans, Mencken's book attempts to make sense of the English spoken in America as its own distinctive dialect.

  • The Promise of American Life

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  • The Quiet American

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