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American Responses - Essay Example

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This paper "American Responses" focuses on the fact that within his paper Transnational America, Randolph Bourne presents his argument that there is no true culture in America except that which has been pieced together from the experiences and cultures of the many types of peoples. …
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American Responses
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Download file to see previous pages Americans fight to have all ‘foreigners’ assimilate into the American culture rather than retaining any sense of the culture from which they came, yet these same individuals do not seem to realize that they, too, are without a real cultural base, stealing instead what is convenient or deemed ‘proper’ from their European, often English, predecessors.  Examining Bourne’s argument brings out a strong theme arguing for internationalism and amicable give and take of cultural concepts and beliefs, enabling the country to grow into something unique and unknown in the world. This argument for a truer mixing of cultures is supported by the evidence of several other writers including Sui Sin Far in “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of a Eurasian”, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin in “The School Days of an Indian Girl” and Louisa May Alcott with her “My Contraband” in which such mixing often did not occur to the detriment of not only the individual experiencing these issues but also to the society who missed out on their earlier creativity and actual worth.

Bourne argues that it is not the influx of different cultures that threatens American concepts of nationality, but American concepts of nationality themselves which work to produce a listless and cultureless environment among its citizens. “It is not the Jew who sticks proudly to the faith of his fathers and boasts of that venerable culture of his who is dangerous to America, but the Jew who has lost the Jewish fire and become a mere elementary grasping animal … Just so surely as we tend to disintegrate these nuclei of nationalistic culture do we tend to create hordes of men and women without a spiritual country, cultural outlaws without taste, without standards but those of the mob” (5). Thus, rather than providing a place where anyone can call home, as advertised, America becomes merely a place where one goes to forget everything that was once important, a land without a soul and a land unwilling to accept any soul that is offered even as it struggles to retain connections to a cultural identity it has already rejected.   ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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