Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2021

Rebecca Mesonjnik
A Brief History of American Myths

What makes America? This is a question I ask myself constantly. As a child of immigrants I am always being pulled in two directions, either I must honor my parent culture or assimilate into American society. In the first half of my thesis, I explore what “being American” means on a personal level. I investigate how immigrants fit into our national identity, and why we categorize them as “other” while fetishizing their narrative. Drawing on personal experience and interviews with other children of immigrants, I attempt to debunk the Bootstrap myth (the success of immigrant generations decreases the longer they live in America). In the process I pose questions about who shapes our collective identity and what it means to aspire to the American dream.

This personal experience with American myth-making inspired the second half of my thesis project. A Brief History of American Myths investigates the source of American identity, inspired by my own experience of blindly accepting everything I read in history books, only to later find out that there was much more to history, and what we were taught as children purposefully omitted the stories of marginalized groups. After speaking with others whose experiences mirrored my own, I wanted to know what untruths we may have internalized and regurgitated as fact. Through this book I hope to encourage others to begin the process of uncovering the truth.

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Dotun Abeshinbioke

Darina Abuzarova

Sung Hyun (Julie) Ahn

Anisa Al Raisi

Hazal Aysel

Vivek Bajaj

Sunayana Bali

Elliot Bohlen

Madison Brang

Allison Bynum

Rachel Chang

Lilliana Checo

Jizheng Chen

Lena Chen

Mi Chen

Raghav Chhabra

Shreya Chittaranjan

Christopher Chu

Shenny Chuang

Calen Chung

Mae Craford

Chengcheng Cui

Rebecca D'Agostino

Dani de los Santos

Nika Diomidovskaia

Aira Dolfo

Maya Eapen

Yaron Erkin

Louis Falisse

Xiaoke Fei

Bernadette Figueroa

Shih-Ju Fu

Ana Furtado

Martina Gallo

Chenxi (Lisa) Gao

Sierra Glicker

Danielle Beatriz Go

Danni Gomez

QingYing (Mimi) Guan

Peiru Guo

Siyu Hang

Trudy Hoang

Will Howell

Annie Hua

Wallis Huang

Charis Huling

Sana Jamali

Aeva Karlsrud

Lake Kennedy

Byunghyun Kim

Destiny Kim

Yeji Kim

Zen Koo

Padmaja Kothari

McKayla Lankau

Hyunseung Maddie Lee

Jade Lee

Jiwoo Lee

Juna Lee

Victoria Lee

Emma Lepore

Scarlet Li

Sunny Li

Sohyunn Lim

Misty Lin

Stephanie Lin

Yu Tong Tiffany Ling

Lilian Liu

Phoebe Lo

Charlotte Lomas

Kevin Loumeau

Wen Hsin Lu

Dirm Luawo

Peiyun Luo

Youran Mao

Imani McIntosh

Rebecca Mesonjnik

Velimar Molina

Matilde Sofia Monti

Gavin Mullally

Syalsabila Karissa Munaf

Michael Mungai

Sanjana Navar

Katelyn Paik

Aileen Pan

Chanjoo Tiffany Park

Namjoon Park

Storey Pearson

Mariel Quadrino

Simran Rao

Felitasari (Tata) Rekso

Yasmin Rozmee

Rainier Salas

Julia Sams

Eva Serrano Reisner

Anvita Shah

Suditi Shah

Amal Shaheedi

Joyce Shi

Samantha Simotas

Claira Smith

Hyunji Song

Carolina Stierli de Abreu

Niharika Sundarigari

Rachael Tomaszewski

Tiffany Tong

Svasti Ujagar

Ariana Ushiki

Diana Victoreen

Yiqi Wang

Yutong Wang

Zheng Wang

Jasmine Wei

Savannah West

Summer Wojtas

Jacquelyn Wu

Ricky Xie

Connie Xu

Karrie Xu

Ellen Yang

Jacqueline Yang

Emily Yun

Monique Zeitouny Dayan

Cecilia Zhang

Cheryl Zhang

Claire Zhang