By opening Virgin Land with de Crévecouer’s question, “What is an American?,” (3) Smith demonstrated that the primary ambition was to answer that very question. Smith uses the frontier myth as his starting point because the most persistent “generalizations concerning American life and character has been shaped by the pull of a continent drawing population westward.” (Virgin Land 3) Where Turner had argued that the frontier had shaped the American identity, Smith shifted the attention “away from what ‘actually happened’ in time past to what people though was happening.” (Marks, 71) Focusing instead on the mythic and symbolic aspects of the West, Smith demonstrated that the image of the West was considered to be a reflection of American nationality, identity, and culture. The American identity was, according to Smith, not the result of the actual experience of living on the frontier as Turner had argued but the result of the utopian ideas used to describe the West and the myths that followed in its
In these letters De Crevecoeur addresses how America is a new type of person. This new type of person De Crevecoeur refers to are the individuals who came to America during the frontier. These individuals came from all over and hold different beliefs. De Crevecoeur finds that “Diverse nationalities and faiths, he said, might well ‘melt’ into a more peaceful, justice-loving, and prosperous original, and it should be the envy of the world” (Horwitz 23). The frontier brought about a whole new race of individuals who could bring a whole new perspective.
Parry states in his book The Spanish Seaborne Empire, “Columbus did not discover a new world; he established contact between two worlds, both already old.” The Colonial Period in American Literature had key components including puritans, rationalists, and Native Americans. During this period there were two major influences on people: rationalism and puritanism. People normally identified themselves as one of these two political/religious identities. Rationalism is a belief or theory that opinions and actions should be based on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response. Benjamin Franklin is a prime example of a rationalist during this period.
In the year 1791, political activist and author, Thomas Paine composed a novel called Rights of Man. In the book, Paine expresses his point of view on American society as perfection. He describes the United States as, “Made up, as it is, of people from different nations.” All throughout American history there are many things that make America the diverse nation we are today. America is recognized as the “great melting pot” implying that our country where contrasting cultures along with beliefs blend together to mold a distinctively American identity. We may be “one nation, under God” but, in my opinion, we will always be in an overstuffed pot that will never fully melt.
Sammi Lonsdale Visual Culture and the Body Van Lenning Assignment 1 The Expulsion of Adam & Eve from Paradise (1791) Benjamin West (American) ________________________________________ Introduction “The Expulsion of Adam and Eve”, created by the American artist, Benjamin West, in 1791 depicts Adam and Eve being removed from the Garden of Eden. Although Benjamin West grew up as an American, he spent the later period of his life in Italy and England. During the time that West was painting this masterpiece, America was going through major changes in their political and religious systems. The United States, newly freed from the grasp of England’s authoritative rule, was still trying to establish itself in their own unique way. Washington D.C was
As the U.S. makes this transition, there are multiple obvious changes throughout the nation, such as a growth of our economy, a feeling of cultural superiority, and a strengthening of our naval forces. Why did America transform from isolationism to imperialism? For starters, the United States felt the need to spread its own culture and religion, Christianity. We viewed small countries as inferior and uncivilized because they did not have advanced technology like our own and the natives of the territories did not practice the Christian religion. This being said, America decided that we needed to take over these areas to improve them.
Neil Gaiman’s, American Gods, main purpose is to show that mythology is not a belief system that is related to unsophisticated cultures. In this novel the same questions, wants and beliefs that gave life to Odin, and all the other gods, are still found in society which causes people to worship material things the same way the older gods were worshipped. Just as people gave life to gods that control the forces of nature, modern people in the novel gave this power of worship to technology, which is personified in the form of Technical Boy and Media. By doing this, Gaiman shows the mythical side in American culture. Ultimately, Shadows road trip becomes a journey that explores the super natural.
The Great Gatsby is a great American novel as the statements it made clear in the 1920’s of the ruin of America and the American Dream still resonates with readers today. In The Guardian article, “What Makes the Great Gatsby Great?” author Sarah Churchwell states, “Gatsby is a fable about betrayal – of others, and of our own ideals. The concept that a New World in America is even possible, that it won't simply reproduce the follies and vices of the Old World, is already an illusion, a paradise lost before it has even been conceived... The materialistic world of Gatsby is defined by social politics in a metropolitan America. It is a story of class warfare in a nation that denies it even has a class system, in which the game is eternally rigged
The Back of a Nonexistent Line In the film Documented and The New York Times article “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” Jose Antonio Vargas describes his experience as an undocumented immigrant in the United States and provides a passionate argument for creating a pathway to citizenship for others like Vargas, who are undocumented as well. Although both the film and article give the viewers and readers an insight into Vargas’ difficult journey, a particular scene in the film sends an unspoken message about the United States as a whole. In Documented, the scene in which Jose Antonio Vargas attends a Mitt Romney campaign rally is detrimental to the immigration debate because it demonstrates the need for Americans to be educated about undocumented immigrants and the difficult process of becoming “legal” in the United States. Without this knowledge, it is easy for Americans to dehumanize undocumented immigrants and believe false propaganda against them. The particular scene that is of importance to the immigration debate begins with a journalist asking Romney if he had a plan that could assist the “honest illegal immigrants” in America instead of just “rounding them up” and deporting them.
“ All my sons advocates a new definition of family; a moral duty to society. Explore the importance of this issue in relation to historical context.” In his first successful play “All My Sons”, the great social critic Arthur Miller meticulously weaves the tale of a typical American home into an expose of American culture at large. By uncovering the veil that masks the true state of the Keller household, which is a battlefront of two American generations, one which is tarnished by materialism and self-denial and the other polished by the comradery and suffering of war. He does so in order to reveal the issues present in post-war American culture; where one’s individual desires are revered and that of the collective are discarded, creating the “dog eat dog” society where actions of moral questionability are condoned. These facets of society are expressed through the father-son conflict that lies at the heart of the text, which represents the dichotomy in the morality of two different generations.