Frederick Jackson Turner Characteristics

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In their writing, Frederick Jackson Turner and Jack London provide benchmarks for how facing the frontier affects man and his ability to survive. However, the authors themselves could not have been more different in their approach to the subject. Frederick Jackson Turner credits the American frontier as the one main focus in shaping the American character. In The Significance of the Frontier in American History, Turner expresses “The result is that to the frontier the American intellect owes its striking characteristics.” (Turner 1136).Turner felt that the hardship of the frontier molded all American’s characteristics and made them more adept to overcome adversity. On the contrary, in his story To Build a Fire, Jack London shows how a man’s surroundings can overwhelm him. This is due to his unwillingness to make changes to his plans to compensate for the unknown dangers he faces on his journey.
Furthermore, Frederick Jackson Turner’s view of life on the frontier was that it builds character in the settlers. He states in The Significance of the Frontier in American History, “The works of travelers along each frontier from colonial days onward describe certain common traits, and these traits have, while softening down, still persisted as survivals in the place of their origin…” (Turner 1136). His augment that each person
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Turner believed that life in the frontier shaped the American characteristics, “That coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness;” (Turner 1136). However, Jack London shows that it is more than a man surroundings that shape the characteristics, that it is the man’s ability and will to learn and adjust to survive in the wilderness. Both authors view the frontier differently, their ideas would build the foundation of important works that shaped American
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