Frank Merriwell: The Perfect American

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What is the Perfect American? What is the “Perfect American?” Well, this is something that a lot of people might think they know the answer to. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and with that comes varying perceptions on what the perfect American is like. However, something else that might have a significant factor on this is when and where one grew up. Depending on the life that a person has lived and who they have spent it with, could possibly have an affect on what an ideal American would be like. So this brings up the question, has our perception and view of the perfect American changed throughout time? During the late 19th and early 20th century a series of cheap paperback books started becoming very popular to the American…show more content…
Mr. Merriwell was a dime novel character created by Gilbert Patten, Patten was born October 25th, 1866 in Corinna Maine. He developed writing at an early age, while growing up his favorite literature to read were dime novels, not knowing he would later create one of the most influential dime novel characters in history. Frank Merriwell during his time was seen as the perfect American. He was a white male who didn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs, willing to lend a helping hand when needed, athletic, always successful in the classroom, and of course never struck out with the ladies. In the book Frank Merriwell and the Fiction of All-American Boyhood author Ryan K. Anderson explains how Merriwell was influential to younger boys growing up in the early 20th century. He states that the premise was simple, “Frank Merriwell was a student at Fardale Military Academy. He was wholesome but no choirboy, confident but not haughty, good looking, fearless and trustworthy. In school, he competed in sports, acted responsibly, and converted enemies to friends”. Patten made a character that could find a way to make things work no matter how bad the situation is. Anderson also suggests, that adolescent readers benefited by internalizing valuable lessons of manliness that Merriwell’s accomplishments conveyed. In the early 20th century, Frank Merriwell was seen as the perfect American and was the boyhood hero for many children growing
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