American Dream In Citizen Khan

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What does it mean to be American? Is it a who-got-here-first contest among nationalities? Or is it an individual’s realization of the American Dream- satisfied by coming to a land of opportunity and seizing the chance to make their dreams come true? Kathryn Schulz successfully tackles this issue in a beautifully curated nonfiction telling of the immigrant story in “Citizen Khan”. “Citizen Khan” recalls the life story of Zarif Khan, an Afghan immigrant who came to the US in 1907 at the speculated age of twelve and became a local legend in the small town of Sheridan, Wyoming by selling tamales. He soon became known as Hot Tamale Louis, and his legend still lives on in small-town Sheridan, which has now transformed into a flourishing Muslim community. This piece for The New Yorker by Kathryn Schulz uses an unusual immigrant’s American Dream reality to pose a reflection of what it is to be American. By sticking solely to facts and telling this one man’s life story as it is without inserting personal beliefs, and establishing a positive emotional connection between Khan and the reader, Schulz creates a successful argument to envision the term …show more content…

This can be seen when she is chronicling Khan’s childhood that propelled his migration from the Khyber Pass to the U.S.: “Khan’s childhood would have been marked by privation and conflict—if he had any childhood to speak of. Family legend has it that he was just twelve when he left”, Schulz writes. By using phrases such as “would have” and words such as “if”, Schulz humbles herself as the writer and acknowledges the fact his story is being told nearly a century after it happened, and as a result there is much deliberation regarding many of the life events and exact timeline portrayed in her telling of his

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