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Angličtina - Lifestyle 2006

Autor: Pavla Bartoszová

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Lifestyle is a way of life of a certain group of people or an individual at a certain historical period. There are a few things decisive for the choice of the future way of life - family background, upbringing, one´s own education, profession, partner, intelligence, character, skills or religion. Almost each society has its social classes, groups of people of the same social or economic level. Classes are divided into the homeless, the lower class, the middle class and the upper class (top of the society).      

Homelessness is one of the problems of the world. Many of homeless people are drug addicted or they are alcoholics who have lost their jobs and homes because their drinking is out of control. Some of them are mentally ill with no one to take care of them. They usually live beneath highway bridges, on dumps or on the dark streets in cardboard boxes. They look like very strangely, wear tattered dirty clothes, men are unshaven, have old face with wrinkles and they are carrying huge bags.

The lower class is also called working class. Here belong factory workers, builders, cleaners, farm labourers or other unskilled workers who have left school soon and don´t have necessary qualifications to get better job. Unemployment is higher among these people.

The middle class is called the backbone of the society. These people are doctors, teachers, factory managers, who reached their success through their own abilities. Most of middle class people own a house and a car and encourage their children to go to the university.

Only some people belong to the upper class. Politicans, famous artists, successful businessmen and aristocracy. They send their children to the best universities as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton or Yale. They are often accused of snobbery.

Also among students are huge differences. As the place where they live as family background influence them. Young Europeans have a strong feeling of being a member of their family, they are able to risk and to fight for their ideas or ideals, they have good knowledge of new technologies and their favourite activities are the internet, sport, parties, music and so on. Gilded youth either earn money easily as stockbrokers or they have rich parents giving them a lot of money. They spend them for best quality goods as drugs, guns, clothes, cars, swinger parties with callgirls. They have everything they want and that´s why they are very spoiled, bored, cynical and unable to love.

In the past there were some groups who differ. For example hippies. Hippies were young people, mainly from the middle classes, who rebelled against society in the sixties. They were against many things - materialism in society, the boring routine of jobs, ordinary family life and war. Their slogan was „make love, not war“. They left their comfortable middle-class homes and formed communes. These were often in the countryside and there they used to grow vegetables and keep farm animals. They went to open-air concerts, where some of them danced naked and took drugs to feel freedom. This lifestyle really shocked their parents. They had very strange appearance. Boys and girls had very long hair often with flowers, extravagant wide colour clothes and sometimes they went barefoot. An opposite to hippies are yuppies. Yuppie is a successful bussinessman of about 30, well-dressed, healthy, active and self-conscious.

With the lifestyle of some nation are connected some stereotypes. Let´s show a few fixed things about the Czechs and the British. We are said to be a nation of musicians. Foreigners thing that we have golden hands, soft heart and according to them we are hospitable. But there are certain contradictions between a positive view of the nation and a negative view of an individual. Some of us are fed-up, disguisted, egoistic, selfish, individualistic and crafty.

The British are often viewed as the most boring people in the world. They wear formal clothes, eat tasteless food and have a specific sense of humour which is usually not understood by foreigners. They are also said to be conservative, reserved, cool and not very spontaneous and open. They don´t like showing their feelings in public which make them seem cold and formal. They always keep a certain distance from you. Indeed, they are very polite but on the other hand, the English football fans are regarded as hooligans and vandals. The British love their home and their lawns are a national pride. They are also completely crazy and obsessed about pets. Paradoxically, the Engilsh still love the hunting of wild animals, such as foxes. They are proud of their originality and one thing specify it - a strong attachment to tradition. They like court ceremonies, jubilees, shows and parades. Some ceremonies are performed every day. For example Changing of the Guard in Whitehall or ceremony of changing the royal guard in the Buckingham Palace. A great tourist attraction is also the picturesque ritual Ceremony of the Keys which is held every night at the Tower of London. Another great ceremony is the State Opening of Parliament. On that specific occasion the Queen is driven through the streets of London in a golden carriage.

                        The Americans are said to be more open, friendly and hospitable. They are always ready to start a conversation. Successful life is their greatest aim. Americans never give up and even if they have problems, they are always trying to find some solution. They see their country as a vast continent of unlimited possibilities where everyone has a chance to become perfect and successful. Another American obsession, apart from money, is being fit and healthy. They regurarly see specialists, take tons of vitamins and pills, practice sports (especially jogging) and keep a healthy low-fat diet. Paradoxically, there are more overweight people in the States than anywhere else. Americans are a consumer society, the material standard of living is very high. Almost all families have two cars and a large house.

Young people are encouraged from an early age to make their own choices and be independent. Very early they move out and live on their own. Some people think, that they spend too much time watching television, do not read books and do not learn as much as they should. But many young Americans aim high and place priority on education and career. Children are taught that drive, initiative and activity are the essence of life. They realize that they have to study hard to reach their success. Many of them have after-school jobs as delivering newspapers, washing cars, babysitting or working in fast food outlets.