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Summer Reading Assignment: Living History by Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is a former First Lady of the United States who served under former President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. For the first time, on September 28, 1993, Clinton was the lead witness on a major Administration legislative proposal. She was also the first wife of a president to testify before a grand jury. She started to come of age during a time of tumultuous social and political change in America. In her childhood, she grew up with choices and opportunities unknown to her mother or grandmother. She lead a newly formed President’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform to fix the health care policy that brought heat both inside and outside the White House. Hillary traveled tirelessly around the U.S. to make the economic and educational opportunity more prosperous and to strictly improve the needs of children and families. She crisscrossed the globe on behalf that women’s rights are human rights, and to spread democracy in foreign countries that are at the risk of big danger from another form of government.

Clinton also redefined the position of First Lady and stayed behind Bill Clinton all the way through an impeachment that violated the laws of presidential impeachment and was politically motivated. Part 2: Hillary covers her entire life living history for eight years serving as First Lady of the White House under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. “I wasn’t born a First Lady or a Senator. I wasn’t born a democrat. I wasn’t born a lawyer or an advocate for women’s rights and human rights. I wasn’t born a wife or mother. I was born an American in the middle of the twentieth century, a fortunate time and place” (Clinton 1). Hillary’s memoir begins with the American story of her upbringing in suburban, Midwestern, middle-class America in the 1950s. She gives context on her parent’s roles and what they have experienced in their childhood days. She also talks about how her parents challenging experiences and lives had made her take advantage of her own life much more than usual. Hillary talks about her early childhood by saying that, “We were middle-class, Midwestern and very much a product of our place and time. My mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham, was a homemaker whose days revolved around me and my two younger brothers, and my father Hugh E. Rodham, owned a small business.

The challenges of their lives made me appreciate the opportunities of my own life even more. I’m still amazed at how my mother emerged from her lonely early life as such an affectionate and level-headed woman” (Clinton 2). She also talks about how, “The Scranton of my father’s youth was a rough industrial city of brick factories, textile mills, coal miners, rail yards, and wooden duplex houses” (Clinton 4). The beginning of the memoir is attention-grabbing because Hillary writes with candor, humor, and passion about her early childhood and gives very informative context on her parents’ experiences. Hillary uses effective/authentic dialogue by talking about the need to remold society by redefining what it means to be a human being in the twentieth century, moving into a new millennium. She starts her statement off by saying that, “ ‘We need a new politics of meaning. We need a new ethos of individual responsibility and caring. We need a new definition of civil society which answers the unanswerable questions posed by both the market forces and the governmental ones, as to how we can have a society that fills us up again and makes us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves” (Clinton 161).

The character/personality traits revealed in her dialogue are that she is very articulate in her statement, informative about what she is trying to convey and get out of this speech, compassionate in her speech to the American citizens, and straightforward in her dialogue since it is very general and informative. At the U.N.’s Fourth World Conference on Women that was held in Beijing in 1995, Hillary talks about what she wants to convey in her speech to women who are experiencing inequality and unfairness in their nations worldwide. She also connects on her own experiences by using insightful language that is also concise to talk about what the women and girls are working on to make their lives better for themselves. Hillary describes that, “I wanted the speech to be simple, accessible, and unambiguous in its message that women’s rights are not separate from, or a subsidiary of, human rights and to convey how important it is for women to make choices for themselves in their lives. I drew on my own experiences and described women and girls I had met all over the world who working to promote education, health care, economic independence, legal rights and political participation, and to end the inequalities and injustices that fall disproportionately on women in most countries” (Clinton 304). In the second inauguration of Bill Clinton, Hillary describes her experience of the event by talking about how it was less energizing than the first one in 1993 because of how the world has changed throughout Bill’s Presidency due to events and experiences this country has faced.

She explains that, “At the same time, there was less of the excitement and awe that we had experienced in 1993. Of course, our world was very different now. I felt I was entering this new chapter in my life like steel tempered in fire: a bit harder at the edges, but more durable, more flexible. Bill had grown into his Presidency, and it endowed him with a gravitas that showed on his face and in his eyes” (Clinton 393). The details and imagery help the author reveal the importance of this specific experience because it shows how Hillary actually felt inside of herself mentally because of this new experience that is different from the previous one since she uses concise details and imagery to talk about why it is different for her than before. She also talks about how Bill’s facial expression has changed throughout his Presidency giving detailed imagery in his appearance. Universal Truths: Living History by Hillary Clinton FIRST PASSAGE “What you don’t learn from your mother, you learn from the world. . .” (Clinton 16). In the beginning of the University of Life chapter of Living History, Hillary talks about how she once heard that saying from the Masai tribe in Kenya. By the fall of 1960, her world was expanding and so were her political sensibilities. Whenever you don’t learn the necessary things in life from your mother, you start to adapt to those experiences that are being taught to you by making mistakes and learning from them so you won’t fail in life. In Hillary’s case, she starts to also adapt to the world she is in by learning by herself the things that are necessary in her life without her mother being present to tell her those important things she needs to understand. Sometimes in life, we could have parents that are not able to be there for us to tell the things that are important to this world, so we have to just learn from our own experiences within this world to understand completely.

In The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family by Martha Raddatz, the story of modern warfare shows the horror, fortitude, and bravery that the soldiers faced during the time of military combat during the war in Iraq in 2004. It shows that if you don’t learn things from your mother, you can learn the necessary things within society and in war to see how things really are in a more insightful way. My brother had to learn things from his own experience in the world around him in society because his mother did not teach him the most important things in life and did not get proper advice so he can use it effectively in his life. SECOND PASSAGE “I was navigating uncharted terrain-and through my own inexperience, I contributed to some of the conflicting perceptions about me” (Clinton 141). Within the East Wing, West Wing chapter of Living History, Hillary talks about how she had worried about the conflicts she would face in the White with Bill since it was a new experience for both of them and did not expect that her role of First Lady would create more speculation and confusion. She also explains how it took her awhile to figure out that what or what is not important to American citizens.

Whenever you face a new experience or challenge, you have to just get through it and in order to do that, you must change the way you see and do things from your own perspective. In Hillary’s case, she must adapt to the new experience she is now facing to be in the role of First Lady by changing her knowledge of how to do things that is appropriate in her job to serve for her own country. When Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech on August 28, 1963, his perceptions started to change because of what he was trying to convey in his message and the type of audience he was talking to about the end of segregation and racism. My perceptions started to change when I started to join the basketball team and was named the captain of the team. I had to get through that new experience of being a captain of my basketball team and needing to adapt to my senses of how I see and do things in my role. Works Cited Clinton, Hillary. Living History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. Print.

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