Apr 30, 2020 in Literature

The Ugly American


American citizens have been a different bunch compared to other people in the world. In many different perceptions, American have proved to be talented compared to other adding up to their tremendous hard work. However, the issue and opinion might be many at times misunderstood by many other people in the world. Mainly because sometimes the Americans lack the flexibility to fit into other people culture and way of life. In the current world, an expression of ugly American is judged according to the looks and behavior of a person. The issue has caused a lot of controversial research and discussion. Some of them proving and explaining the behavior while other dispute it in a negative manner. The book "The Ugly American" published by William J Lederer and Eugene Burdick tends to explain the whole issue. It talks about an ambassador in a fictions city called Sarkhan. The book tends to change the attitude and perception of American on how they interact with other nationals. The essay will examine Ugly America myth in detail and justify some of the concepts using different scenarios.

One of the most portrayed aspects in the books is how the Americans are successful in their activities. Homer Atkins, an engineer, sent to help the people and the government of Sarkan by The United States get to apply some of his skills. He has a lot of responsibility to make sure the projects work for the individuals in an area where the American culture does not exist. In fact, Homer is always described as ugly due to work making it be ironical since he is a smart and skillful. His hands were always greased with oil and always black due to hard work. The book shows a good virtue of Americans as been successful. The engineer makes great attempts in helping the villages in innovating great staff for daily use. The bicycle-powered pumps that were used for irrigation helped the community significantly. Homer did not mind the state of work; he did not assume any innovation as irrelevant. The innovation helped the community as whole achieving important goals such as food security. Some of the people have perceived the issue of success as pride based according to Americans culture. However, it is quite the contrary, and the Americans are successful regarding achieving their goals. Most of them when traveling to other countries they get to focus on the objectives. 

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Most of the Americans traveling in other parts of the world are perceived to be naïve according to the nationals of the given country. The book tends to explain the naivety of Americans caused by ignorance. Apart from Homer Atkins, the other Americans in Sarkhan are perceived to be naïve including Ambassador Gilbert Macwhite. Gilbert Macwhite been an educated, and strategic man does not know how to transform his knowledge to reality in the South Asia. The way he is approaching each matter in Sarkhan shows naivety of some Americans. The first development as an ambassador was to learn Sarkhenese language and culture. The fact that, he did not make any attempt to learn the language makes his administration regarding foreign policy fail. The communism remark rice donated by Americans claiming it is there’s while the Americans do not know. The communist takes the naivety of Americans in the book to foster for communism and destroy Americans policy. If the ambassador and other Americans made an attempt of learning Sarkhanesse, they would have noticed and solved the issue. The truth of matter is that Americans are not flexible in interacting with other people cultures. Their conservative nature makes it harder for them to work in other countries. Normally, you would find an American searching for Starbuck and Mcdonalds in another country. It is important for the Americans specifically those who are traveling to learn to integrate with other individuals. The mere fact will help in eradicating the myth of ugly America in most of the countries.

The issue of America real intentions in most nations including Asia has made been controversial for many centuries. Most of the people perceive the Americans have bad intentions and are always malicious. The Communist in the book takes advantage of individual’s perception to eradicate the American policies. However, as shown by Homer, the American engineer has good intentions. He brings change and development to the villages compared to other nationalists from the Soviets Union. Most of them advocate for positive change in bringing a difference to the communities. However, the method of how they show it might sometimes be misinterpreted. The issue has made many nationals as portrayed by the people of Sarkhan to portray Americans badly. The ambassador also wanted to advocate for a sustainable community in the region. However, his ways were misunderstood because of the lack of integration with the people. The American foreign policy is challenged by introducing peace corps who are more efficient compared to the ambassador. The approach of how the American foreign policy handles delicate matters is what makes the whole issue leave a bad footprint of Americans behind. The policies need to be changed, implementing friendly integrating concepts that bring real change to the community.  

The Americans have been accused of having a bad attitude linked to their supremacy. The Americans have a perception that they are always right and perfect. The approach has made it difficult for the Americans to correlate with other cultures and have a good relationship. Gilbert Macwhite has been affected by the culture and attitude. He arranges meeting and implement policies that think are constructive without consulting. On the other hand, Louis Krupitzyn approaches the challenges in a different manner. He gets to learn and interact with the locals to build a certain rapport with the people. The people of Sarkhan get to interact with Louis and believe his concepts more compared to those of American. The Americans supremacy and attitude of perfection makes it difficult for them to have a harmonized relationship with people. It sets a bad example and reputation of Americans all over the world. People, appreciate the fact of been understood and their values and policies been respected. 


Conclusively, the book “The Ugly American” has proved to be a challenging factor to many Americans. The Americans are one of the smartest and talented people on earth. However, the interaction between them and other nations has been a challenging factor. Most of the researchers argue that American foreign policies tend to spend billions on the project both in Asia and Africa that are not constructively. The book tends to show Homer, the engineer as an example of how American should interact with different nationalities. He gets to interact with other villagers understanding their project and learning most of their cultures in detail. He brings more change in Sarkhan compared to the ambassador. Louis intentions are very malicious, however, due to his attitude and knowledge of the Sarkhanesse culture makes people believe in him more. The truth of the matter is that the relationship between Americans and the world is not the convincing. The Americans should fist change their attitude, get to appreciate and respect people culture. Learning different languages might just help the interaction. In fact, research shows that Americans tend to fail in integration with other communities due to the language barrier. Assuming that everyone is conversant in English is a bad perception.


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