Small Town Imperialism

926 Words4 Pages
If there is any setting in the world seems removed from modernity, it is ‘Main Street’, USA, a fantasy location describing small “off the beaten path” towns across the world. Small towns don’t get any credit for globalization, only major cities where significant change took place for the modernization of the world. But Ryan Poll’s, Main Street and Empire, is unique in arguing that the small town reputation is actually a complex ideological form, pivotal to the development of U.S. imperialism and intercontinental capitalism. The purpose of this book is to show that small town America is a source of national identity and has been a signifier of national values because, even as the United States’ power grew, the country refused to recognize itself…show more content…
Small towns have a reputation of being innocent, nostalgic, or unimportant, but Poll uses his texts to prove otherwise. He writes that small towns are crucial to the development of the United States Empire and global capitalism.
The texts poll uses to give insight to small towns are mainly literary sources. They include, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place, and Peter Weir’s The Truman Show. He also used parts of speeches said by William McKinley, Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama.
Using his literary sources, Ryan Poll attempts to show the presence and impact of small towns and the “ideology” they represent. Main Street and Empire focuses on the small town’s ideological history as an island form. This aspect of American exceptionalism enabled obliviousness to the nation’s imperialist personality. Most other authors that write about globalization attribute to its success to extremely large and memorable events in history or major cities where the economy has boomed. Poll on the other hand focuses on the small towns that have influenced modernization of the world, imperialism and intercontinental capitalism. Poll relates to other authors in the sense of speaking about how the world has developed since 1945. Every author
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Some author’s would’ve only focused on the United States’ small towns and not given a global perspective to the reader. The book’s chapters evaluate literature, political discussion, sociological research, and physical small towns. He truly reveals a small town imaginary shaping an age of globalization. Another strength Poll has is his use of literary sources. His sources assure that information is valid and his writing has no room for error in facts. His sources prove his arguments and thesis that small towns are crucial to global development and have had an impact around the world on modernization. His purpose of the book stated in the first paragraph was unquestionably fulfilled through the use of his sources. On the other hand, Poll also has weaknesses in throughout the book. More visuals would have had a strong impact on his writing. The use of photography, paintings, and other visual representations of Main Street would give the reader a better idea of how he imagines small towns and all of the impact he believed they had. Visual stimulation is important in any book, novel, newspaper, etc., it adds to the quality of the reading and insight to what is being written about. The reader can only imagine in their heads the towns that Poll is describing, with visuals each reader would’ve been able to see the exact picture Poll was trying
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