Identités et Echanges: Small American Towns

Photo analysis

This document is a coloured picture

A farmer is  painting a building, which is a barn (grange).

The American flag appears on the front wall (mur).

It is composed of 50  stars standing for (= représenter) the 50 present states.

It is also made of  13 stripes (= rayures) for the 13 original colonies. (a colony)

At the beginning of the 17 th Century (= siècle), religious dissenters (= dissidents) left Great Britain to settle down (= s’installer) in America.

They wanted freedom / liberty

They wanted to conquer (= conquérir) new territories. (a territory)

They wanted to become rich /wealthy.

Donald trump became (to become= devenir) president between 2016 and 2020.

He is not a democrat but a republican.

He is a WASP = White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

The slogans / mottos: Make America Great Again and Blue Lives Matter

Rural America

Look at the photo and describe the different elements you can see.

This colour picture shows a house in the forest.

The scene takes place in rural America.

A man is standing in front of a trailer (= a caravan) which is next to the house.

This place looks like a slum (= a bidonville).

We have the impression that the man is not rich enough (= pas assez riche) to fix (= repair) it.

He is not wealthy enough ( = not rich enough) to move out (= déménager)  To move in = emménager 

Indeed in the USA, there is a lot of poverty (or destitution); many poor people also suffer from obesity as it is the case for this man.   

Obesity in the USA   

There are a lot of (= many = numerous (=de nombreux))  fast food restaurants in the USA   There is a lot of / much fat (= gras) and sugar in this junk food (= mal-bouffe)   

Poor people can’t afford ( = ne pas pouvoir se payer) quality food.    

Education in the US 

The man’s level of education ( = niveau d’études) is very low (= bas – contraire de high).

I believe that he can’t read.

I think that he can’t write. 

Maybe / Perhaps (= peut-être), he can neither (= ni) write nor (= ni) read.

So he didn’t go to college (= university).

He probably dropped out of school (to drop out of school =  abandonner l’école).

Why ?

Maybe he did not like school. He hated (= détester) school.  

Maybe, he didn’t feel like going to school (= ne pas avoir envie)

Maybe he lost one member of his family and he got depressed  (to get depressed = déprimer)

As (= puisque)  he was poor, he had to / was obliged to work to help his family.

Here are the characteristics of the “redneck,” a stereotype of a particular kind of poor white Southerner that dates back to before the Civil War:

Redneck is an insulting term for some lower-class and working class southerners.

People see rednecks as racist, hot-headed, too physical, violent, loud, mean, undereducated—and proud of it. The stereotypes follow: Rednecks do not speak correctly and are proud to be brutally honest about their feelings about nonwhites. Rednecks like to fight to solve their problems, preferring to beat someone at a street dance than to talk about the problem and solve it diplomatically. Rednecks come to the dinner table barefooted not because they have no shoes, but to specifically mock rules. Redneck women smoke cigarettes, chew gum, and wear curlers and put on makeup in public. The redneck rebels against education and against standard English, refusing to speak as others would have him or her speak. Rednecks hunt proudly, take baths only occasionally, and work on old cars in their front yard. Rednecks are characterized by excess; they eat too much, drink too much, smoke too much, play too hard, and live too hard. All these things differentiates the redneck from the poor white.                                                                                                                                    Abridged from

This man is a redneck. Read the text above and pick one stereotype you find the most surprising / disgusting (= dégoutant)                                                               

ex: What I find very surprising is that Rednecks are proud (= fier) not to go to high school.

What I find disgusting is that rednecks seldom (= rarement) wash (= se laver).

What I find surprising is that they refuse to speak English correctly.

What I find disgusting is that they eat junk food.

Look at the man and describe his life.                                            

ex: As a  redneck, the man in the photo probably drinks a lot.

He looks (= avoir l’air) in bad shape (= en mauvaise forme) because he may not have much money to eat healthy (= saine) food.

He must be broke (= il doit être fauché)



People’s hardships in rural America

A report by the Washington Post online

This report focuses on (= se concentrer) on the difficulties met by numerous Americans over the last years regarding the increasing unemployment rate (taux) in rural America.

Michael, a Wilmingtonian testifies about (= témoigner à propos de) the evolution of the town after DHL, a parcel and express mail service, closed down (= fermer); it probably relocated (= délocaliser) the company and made its employees redundant ( = licencier) ; the firm laid off 7,000 people. (to lay off= to make redundant)

This company closure (= fermeture) had many impacts on its workers’ lives :

-They were devastated / shocked / traumatized / distressed

– some couples split / broke up / got divorced

– some families lost their houses / they were expelled from their houses (= exproprié)

– Houses lost their value  on the real estate (= immobilier) market

– Many unemployed people gave up = abandonner / they called it quits (= jeter l’éponge) and decided to move to another place to get a chance to get a new job.

As for (= quant à) Michael , he did not give up (= to abandon) and started a business, making custom knives (couteaux artisanaux) at home.

He acknowledges (/ækˈnɒlɪdʒiz/) (= to admit) that he is broke (= fauché) but he succeeds in paying his mortgage (= prêt immobilier)

To conclude, he says he ‘s doing okay / he’s fine/ he does well / he copes well = bien s’en sortir.

Writing a letter