The American Dream ( Choose Your Own Adventure)

Mark Perry, Will Johnston, Joe Candon

Almost anyone can tell you what the American Dream means to them. But can anyone obtain this dream? We propose that now a days the American Dream is unrealistic for immigrants. The way American society and government are makes it more difficult for immigrants. Immigrant families are being separated from one another once entering America and are not given a fair chance at reaching their goals.

The inspiration came from the novel Americanah and the current news on immigration.  Our goal is to create an experience similar to Americanahs chapter 9 when Ifemelu’s comes to America for the first time. Ifemelu arrives in America and Aunty Ujupicks her up from the airport in New York. Uju seems tense and unhappy, different from how Ifemelu remembers her. Ifemelu also relizes that when speaking on the phone Uju pronounces her name differently because that’s what people call her here in America.  Ifemelu has to sleep on the floor, as Aunty Ujuand Dike share the single bed. Ifemelu expected everything to be more glamorous than it is, and she can’t fall asleep, overcome by the newness of it all. She looks out the window and notices how different the street looks from the one on The Cosby Show (Adichie).Everything since her arrival seems disappointing and even unfriendly to Ifemelu, and Aunty Uju provides an example of how the pressures of immigrant life can “subdue” and change someone (Adichie).

LATimesjournalist Angelica Quintero wrote anarticle titled America’s love-hate relationship with immigrants.This article is about how even though America is made up of immigrants it has a history of having problems with immigration. The articles stated “The poor, the sick and those espousing certain political beliefs were barred from entry into the U.S. under other new laws. Laws discouraging immigration from Southern Europe — mainly from Italy — reflected widespread anti-Catholic sentiment (Quintero).” This article also stated “President Trump ordered an overhaul of immigration law enforcement, stripping away most restrictions on who should be deported. Under the new guidelines, up to 8 million people in the country illegally could be targeted for deportation (Quintero).”

We chose to use Twine to create out choose your own adventure game. The experience we are trying to create is an adventure game where the user/ player is an immigrant entering America and what you go through once in the “Dream Land.” We want to impact your experience as an immigrant to create a unique and memorable experience.  Our users will make their own choices and each choice will have a different or similar outcome. This will put the user in an immigrant’s shoes and bring out different emotions ones you wouldn’t get from just watching T.V or reading.

Our story begins right after the user gets picked up from the airport and includes the journey to their aunt’s house. To navigate the simulation the user will read the text at each step and then click on the links at the bottom. Once the user reaches the end of the simulation they will have the opportunity to go through it again and make different choices the second time through.



Cherry, Stephen M. and Lucas, Amy. “The immigrant experience: Houstonians’           family attitudes and behaviors.” Sociological Spectrum, vol. 36, no. 6, 2016, pp.       378-390.

-This is a scholarly article about the view of family between America and immigrants coming to America and how they’re different. The article goes into depth about assimilation, socialization, intermarriage, and family attitudes. Using the Houston Area Survey, a 2011 study concluded that non-Houston citizens are more likely to date members of a different ethnic race making it very likely for Houston to become diverse in the coming years. The survey also states that immigrants exposed to American culture and attitudes are more likely to portray the same attitudes and culture they see assimilating to what’s around them. The last part of the article states that immigrants are paid less than minimum wage on average.  The article helps us blend the world of Americanah with contemporary America. This article gives us a wider look at immigration in America and can therefore use the information done in the survey to help make sense of how the Aunt and main character (you) fit into our world logically. This piece was used as a way to create the household in which the Aunt lives in and takes the main character (you) to at the end of play.


Helsel, Phil and Fichtel, Caitlin. “University of North Carolina at Charlotte                     shooting kills 2, injures 4.” NBC News,         ws/least-2-dead-2-injured-after-report-shooting-university-north-n1000436.

This is a NBC News article about the school shooting at the University of North Carolina. A 22-year man is charged with the murder of two University of North Carolina students and the attempted murder of four others. Three of the four are in critical condition. The shooting happened on the last day of the school year at the University of North Carolina. The incident was viewed as a “tragic loss to a great university,” and “time for mourning.” With the main character (you) entering America, having left a country (Nigeria) with lots of violence and political corruption going on, going to a place looking for the “American Dream” means that violence should be minimal to non-existent. This article goes against that idea of a “dream” world and creates fear. This piece is used as a news piece to make the main character (you) feel uneasy about coming to America. With the main character coming to America with high hopes of the American Dream, this helps shift their personal thoughts towards viewing America in a less pretty light and send our choose your own adventure into the second part.


Ibrahim, Awad. “Don’t Call Me Black! Rhizomatic Analysis of Blackness,                         Immigration, and the Politics of Race Without Guarantees.” Educational                   Studies, vol. 53, no. 5, 2017, pp. 511-521.

-This is a scholarly article about African American immigration to America. Three studies researching how African Americans are perceived in literature create a framework on how black immigrants think, learn, and create their desires and identities. African American immigrants are said to have a disadvantage before even coming to America with literature having already written out their story so they have farther to go before they can truly get anywhere. A new narrative needs to be taught so African Americans can create their own stories. This piece was used to help in the overall creation of what the main character (you) experience when coming to America. With this project being a five minute simulation of the American experience from the viewpoint of an immigrant, the story is set up so the main character has the chance to make their own narrative and create their own narrative. With the create your own story aspect, there’s multiple possible ways that people playing as the main character can see different horrors of the world to influence the main character’s thoughts changing about the American Dream, and then getting to create their own story (if this project were to be flushed out into something bigger).


Li, David K. and Madani, Doha. “Minneapolis police officer found guilty in                    shooting death of unarmed woman who called 911.” NBC News, https://www.       -death-unarmed-woman-who-n999706.

-This is an article from NBC news about a police officer shooting an unarmed woman in Minnesota. The woman called the police reporting a sexual assault happening next door. When the officer arrived on the scene, she ran up to the police car and was shot. The officer is pleading not guilty with evidence being the only thing that is holding up the court hearing. This piece was used as a news piece heard in the game to make the main character uneasy about their safety in America and the police officers meant to protect them. With the American Dream on the main character (you)’s mind, and entering a city where police activity is heavy in certain parts (North Philadelphia), this article creates fear. The main character is in another city but after hearing this can start feeling uneasy due to the fact that they may fear if this incident were to happen to them. Entering a country at a time where tensions are constantly high between law officials and the African American community makes the situation more fearful for the audience playing as the main character.


Maxouris, Christina and Sutton, Joe. “A 25-year-old Iowa woman was shot and              killed while driving home from work.” CNN,        us/iowa-former-student-shot-and-killed-highwy/index.html.

This is an article from CNN about a student who was shot and killed driving home from work. The woman was shot in the neck at around 2:30 am. The police have no information on the killer at the time, and are offering a $7,000 reward for anyone who comes forward with information on the killer. This piece was used as a news piece heard in the game to make the main character uneasy about their safety in America. This article goes against the idea of the “American Dream” creating fear in the main character (you). With the main character riing home at the moment of hearing the article, this creates not just general fear now while driving home but any time when going around in America. The main character left the violence of back home only to enter a new world of violence that really isn’t all that different. It just has a difference mask it wears. Using a real world article also makes it more realistic for the person playing this simulation because they can take from stuff they either know or may hear of.


Nwanyanwu, Augustine Uka. “Transculturalism, Otherness, Exile, and Identity in        Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.” Brill, vol. 49, 2017, pp. 386-399.

-The literary analysis really helped us dive into the themes in which Chimamando Ngozi Adichie explores in her novel Americanah. We specifically looked at the theme of transculturalism. We explored this theme through the aunt’s adjustment to America. These aspects are pointed out as the main character is seeing everything with brand new eyes. When the aunt talks about the music and how the main character needs to get used to it because it is all around. The same happened when the main character sees the police officers. It helped us understand the relationship between Ifemelu and Aunt Uju. We tried to adapt a similar relationship between the main character and the aunt in our story. It often showed up in the responses from the main character to the aunt as well as the responses the aunt must the main character when they react to the radio or something seen out the window. At the end of the story we also try to touch on the theme of identity. As the main character is in the aunt’s house they realize that the American dream is not all that it is made up to be. It is seen that the aunt is struggling and in a lesser spot than if she had stayed in Nigeria. This prompts the main character to question if the right choice was made in coming to the United Statea.


Quintero, Angelica. “America’s Love-Hate Relationship with Immigrants.” Los               Angeles Times,

-This is a Los Angeles Times article about America’s love/hate relationship with immigrants. The article compares how America current handles immigration now versus in the past. A lot of polls and research went into the article. Many show the spike in immigration happening in the late 80s, early 90s, and beyond. But over time, more immigration executions have been ordered and a push has gone to create a wall preventing immigrants from coming into America. The article also has many political articles that exaggerate for humor the United States’ stance on immigrants coming in with one comic in particular standing out to me where a man wearing a United States hat is standing in a brick box me made for himself to keep out Refugees, Muslims, and Mexicans. But even with that much protection, the man states he still feels “unsafe” and should make a “lid” to be fully enclosed. This piece was used to help create the love/hate relationship the main character (you) have when seeing America for the first time. It can be seen in the situation for housing that the main character goes into because of the crappy situation her aunt is in due to being an immigrant and having a tough start in getting her “American Dream” going.

State Level Immigration Policy

The author examines what level of responsibility there is between the federal government and the state government in creating policies around immigrants. Federal government ultimately has the largest responsibility in creating and enforcing the regulations around immigration, but the author examines how more recently states have been taking a larger role. The article begins by looking at the number of state legislation and resolutions that took place between 2005 and 2014. Arizona has stated a movement of legislation being created with what became known as the Omnibus Legislation because it lumped several bills into one. Within the next year, five other states passed similar legislation.

The journal then takes a wide look at all each state and the legislation they have enacted. This information is displayed in a large chart. The author then examines the different type of legislation more closely. It looks at law enforcement and the structure in which they exist and interact with immigrants. It touches on an E Verification for employment and how different states have different levels of requirements. It even continues into areas to determine how eligible immigrants are for In-State tuition and other financial aid resources, drivers licenses, and health care. Each area that is examined is accompanied by a diagram of the United States and to what degree the legislation exists.

The entire article is written about the laws and what limits are put onto immigrants and the way they are living. The journal was published in 2016 with much of its information coming from 2013-2015, being that it is currently 2019, I am unsure how much legislation has changed since the publication of this journal.

View journal here.

“Landscape of State-Level Immigration Policies.” A Cost-Benefit Framework for Analyzing the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of State-Level Immigration Policies, by Lynn A. Karoly and Francisco Perez-Arce, RAND Corporation, 2016, pp. 3–20. JSTOR,

Article 2: Issues with the Wall

Laura Parker talks about how the proposed wall at the border between Mexico and the United States. She opens the article discussing how walls are often built to keep people out, but many times it does not keep people from coming in. She focuses much of her article in the physical implications of building such a large wall. The wall would bisect several different eco-regions that are home to several endangered animals and plants. The wall would go right through seven different wildlife conservation areas. It will also reduce chances of survival for animals in general because they have less room to roam for food and they have not way to escape fires and floods.

It also could cause a lot of issues with flooding. She references a situation in 2008 in Southwest Arizona where a five miles long, fifteen foot high mesh fence cause flooding up to seven feet high. Other issues with water include the Rio Grande. This river changes path from time to time so creation of the wall would essentially give more land to Mexico and leave several groupings of people outside the wall even though they are American citizens.

Parker ends her article talking about how the construction of this wall would not be help to the same requirements and laws that exist. The wall would fall exempt from the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act because of the REAL ID Act which allows Homeland Security to bypass any laws in the name of national security.

Article 1: Wall Advocacy

Debbie Lesko talks about her visit to the border between the United States and Mexico. She spoke with Customs and Border Protection about the challenges they have to deal with. They spoke about how it is much more than just illegal immigrants, it also includes illegal drug smuggling, human trafficking, and dangerous cartels.  When she asked the people working the border if they thought a wall would help, they felt that it would.

Lesko continues on that a wall would indeed help the issues because of the nature of a wall. She gives examples of other places in which wall has helped. She brings up the wall that was built in 2000 in Tucson, Arizona and how it decreased border arrests by 90% over the next fifteen years. In 2005 a wall was built in Yuma, Arizona where border arrests decreased by 95% over the next nine years.

She finishes her article by saying that it is going to take more than just a wall to make these issues go away, but the wall is the first step. The wall then needs to be accompanied by additional border patrol agents and enhanced technology to establish a respect for our border.

Selling Out?

Obinze is in London on an expired visa and set to marry Cleotilde in a green card marriage. He keeps getting pushed around by the Angolan men because they are asking for more and more money, and Obinze and Cleotilde are not able to leave because the men have her passport. Obinze finally turns to Emenike, an old friend from school who is also living in London. They are not really friends, but they have the commonality of their school to bring them together. Obinze asks for money from Emenike who gives Obinze double what he asks for. Eventually Obinze ends up at dinner with Emenike and his wife Georgina. Obinze watches how Emenike interacts with his wife and the staff at the reasturant and there is this aura around Emenike. Obinze finally figures out it is “Self-satisfaction, that was the difference in him. He was married to a British woman, lived in a British home, worked at a British job, traveled on a British passport, said ‘exercise’ to refer to a mental rather than a physical activity. He had longed for this life, and never quite believed he would have it” (Adichie 330).

Emenike seems different because he has achieved what he wanted. To what degree was he joyful for having certain things such as the British wife and British job, versus having sold himself out to a new culture?


Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

Narrative Poetry

I thought it was really interesting having Carlos Hernandez visit our class. There were a few things that really stuck out to me about his visit. The first being that I often fail to take in the full meaning of a poem, because most of the time I do not read them out loud. When he read one of his poems during the visit it gave me a new appreciation for the poem. When I first read the poem I missed some of the story because I was not reading it in the right way.

The second thing that I took away was how he said that digital publication of poems made it much easier for writers to be published because there is virtually no extra cost for having longer vertical space needed.

I am not a writer so he talked about many things that I was not able to connect with very well, but these two things will really stick with me as I continue with the coarse as well as I continue my work as a filmmaker.

The Africa Doc

I have a connection to a guy who goes to my church and the organization he has started. He is an immigrant to the United States, and he started the organization Caring Hands Africa, which provides medical care and medical supplies to communities in Cameroon, Africa. This would be a great opportunity to create a documentary about the work the organization is doing and the conditions in those communities. It would highlight not only communities in need, but the work that this man is doing in his home country. This documentary provides material in which could be screened by many different people raising awareness.

Life is too Short to Wait

Last Wednesday I attending the Entrepreneurship panel with the hope that I would be able to gain a better understanding of entrepreneurship and if it were something I might want to consider. I was a bit disappointed as I felt like I didn’t gain very much by attending the event. I will say that the members of the panel were passionate about their business. Specifically Andrew Murphy from Flying Frog Publishing and Andy Brown from Eat Pizza. They spoke about how they got into entrepreneurship and how it started back when they were in high school. One of the biggest things I felt the panel was trying to express to us was that it is hard work and you will face a lot of people saying no, or it is not going to work. I felt like everyone really lingered on these things and that it was really nothing knew for me.

While I feel a bit disappointed about the event I feel like there were two things that really stuck out to me. The first being the passion and excitement that Andy had. And I felt like he presented it in such a way that I was curious to hear more about his story. Even if I felt like I didn’t take much away, I like to hear him talk. Another thing that really stuck out to me was when John Dinkel talked about how his sister-in-law passed away which caused him and his wife to realize that life it too short to wait and that if they wanted to start this business, then they should do it now. It gave me a little bit of a perspective on taking the leap into business.

As a film major I have always thought about starting a video production business. I am in the process of trying to formulate the business and the brand. I feel like digital publishing is a topic that would be really good for me and helpful. While I felt like the panel discussion did not touch on digital publishing very much, I do feel like this coarse has some potential to be very helpful to me.

Appealing to Those with Money

When viewing the LIRS website, the first thing that sticks out are the two graphics under the menu. The large text and strong contrast causes you to be drawn into their claim that all people are human and the stories they want to share. Ultimately the main purpose of this site is to raise money. There is a donate button that sits right in the main menu at the top of every page. Not only is it in the menu at the top of the page, but it is the one link that has a bright orange button which makes it stick out drastically from all of the other links in the menu. It is very clear that this is a nonprofit website because of the big donate button at the top of every page. They do deserve credit though, they did go with design more unique that some of the nonprofit websites we viewed in class.

By choosing a website the organization has created a central hub for their online presence. So much of our lives are spent online that it makes sense that the organization would want to be where their audience is and once the website is established, they can point all of their other online presence to their website. All social media, emails, and just about anything else can direct people to their website for a more complete picture of the organization and ways the audience can participate. While the use of websites is on the newer side compared to other means of publication such as print materials, they have become standard and expected for every organization. People rely on them to learn about the organization, instead of searching for brochures or people who are part of the organization they turn right to the website. Since the website is their first place to turn, people expect the website to be good. If the site navigation is not easy to use, or if they can not find the information they are looking for, the viewer will just turn away and look into a different organization with a better website.

Full Page of Text

Viewers could look at this site from their phones, but I would think that most of the views comes from either laptop or desktop computers. This site had a lot of text to read and most people don’t want to read as much on their phone as they would on their computer. Viewers who are visiting the site for the first might look around the site on their phone but I would guess that they would try to find an actual computer if they wanted to spend time reading the contents.

Right from the front page it is apparent that this website is aimed an audience that values viewing people as people. The site is appealing to these values right from the homepage where the one of the first thing you read is “Asylum Seeker. Immigrant. Refugee. Human.” The organization is saying how people are people and we need to help each other out. They also use images that have a lot of meaning behind them such as the image of the Statue of Liberty used in header on Missions and Vision page. Using an image like this not only is familiar to people, but the Statue of Liberty is associated with feelings of freedom, empowerment, and unity of the country. This helps the author appeal to the audience because when the viewer if reading through the website and then sees that image it is going to lead the viewer to think about the mission of the organization associated with all of those good feelings evoked by the Statue of Liberty.

Home Page:

The site also brings attention to what the organization is doing, through the traditional pages like About Us and Our Work, but it also included press releases and a blog. The blog can give a more personal connection to the organization or making the website feel like it is active and not just a stationary text. This site also wants to reach asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees and provide them with assistance. Specifically through the site, they want to help provide loans to these people. In the upper right corner of every page as well as part of the normal menu is a link to the loan portal for people applying for loans and managing the loans they have received.

Blog Page

Nowhere on the site does it really seem to talk about the author of the site. It can be assumed that the organization would be the ones behind the website because it is a site about them, and then in the footer of the site it indicated that LIRS holds the copyright privileges.  In navigation to the page titled “Our Leadership” under the About menu, a list of the leadership team is related. It it broken down into the representation members and the staff leadership. Currently they are seeking a new President and CEO, so at the current moment they are being led by interim President and CEO Pat Nichols. Even though they are being let by Pat Nichols, I wouldn’t consider him the author of the site. I believe that the site is a representation of the organization as a whole and was comprised by a few representatives of the organization to make sure that it accurately represented the entire organization.


Overall I thought the site did a really good job at presenting information and trying to get people to take action. I do think that they could have benefited from using some video or at least something moving. Additionally something with sound. I was not able to easily find any spots where the website used any sound. One question that was raised for myself was the name of the organization. The URL, the logo, and many places on the site it refers to it as LIRS, in the footer it shows that it stands for Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Services. LIRS seemed a little odd to be, like I wanted to know what it stood for the entire time I was looking around until I found it in the footer.