Crevecouer's letter - Essay Example

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Crevecoeur’s Letter Table of Contents Table of Contents 2 Introduction 3 Thesis Statement 3 Crevecoeur’s Letter III - What is An American: An Analysis 4 Relevance of Crevecoeur’s Observation in the Present Context 5 Conclusion 6 Works Cited 7 Introduction ‘Letters from an American Farmer: Describing Certain Provincial Situations, Manners, not Generally Known; and Conveying Some Idea of the Late and Present Interior Circumstances of the British Colonies in North America’ is a series of letters published in the year 1782…
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Crevecoeur’s Letter Table of Contents Table of Contents 2 Introduction 3 Thesis ment 3 Crevecoeur’s Letter III - What is An American: An Analysis 4 Relevance of Crevecoeur’s Observation in the Present Context 5 Conclusion 6 Works Cited 7 Introduction ‘Letters from an American Farmer: Describing Certain Provincial Situations, Manners, not Generally Known; and Conveying Some Idea of the Late and Present Interior Circumstances of the British Colonies in North America’ is a series of letters published in the year 1782. These letters were written by one of the prominent French-American sociologists and writers, namely, St. John De Crevecoeur. Conceived and written during the period before American Revolution, the letters present a panorama about the way of life with the vivid details concerning the geographical locations within and around the American colonies under the British rule. It took seven long years for Crevecoeur to finish these letters. The letters appear to come out from the pen of a fictional narrator who records his experiences as a new man in the new land of possibilities, America. Crevecoeur wrote these letters while he was farming a patch of land somewhere near Orange County in New York. Letter III of the series entitled “What is An American?” deals with the basic idea regarding the role of the soil and the amount of effects it can extend on the growth and development of the people living in the region. Besides, the comparisons of people with plants living in those areas also occupy a significant portion of the letter. Thesis Statement This essay intends to explore the ideas pursued through Crevecoeur’s Letters and analyze his perception regarding the question ‘What is An American?’ At the same time, the essay also intends to seek the relevance of his ideation in present context. Crevecoeur’s Letter III - What is An American: An Analysis Before tracing the relevance of the definition yielded by Crevecoeur in his letter “What is An American?” in the present context and scenario of American society, it is important to analyze the perspective rendered in the letter and framed years ago. The imaginary narrator visits the British colonies in the year 1783 as a prospective settler. The letter encompasses experiences gained from the perspective of an English settler who has stepped into this new land to make his fortune; where the initial distinguishing perception that captures the eyes and mind of the new coming settler is its stunning unlikeness from Europe. He traces out the fact that in America unlike Europe the line between the rich and the poor is quite thin. The society in America is not divided on a class basis. The honorary titles do not determine the class of a man in the society; which is, apparently, different from that practiced in the European countries. On the contrary, the title of nobles and lords that determines myriad strata in a European society is completely non-existent in America. What he found is that the American people are mostly farmers who work very hard and live in comfortable and modest environments. This makes the narrator easily conclude that America is a great place to live with new possibilities and huge opportunities for the people who are ready to work hard (Crevecoeur, “Letters from an American Farmer”). Next, the narrator describes American society and its greatness. The narrator finds that this greatness is achieved due to the mixture of different cultures brought by immigrants from different parts of Europe including England, Scotland, France, Holland, Germany and Sweden. Most of the immigrants have left their previous homes because of poverty or persecution and, therefore, they do not find or show any kind of attachment to their former land. They find America as a land of seeming opportunity and wish to stay at the place where they would be treated equally as citizens under the vigilance and protection of law (Crevecoeur, n.p.). Finally, the narrator describes exactly what it feels like to be an American. He sees an American as the descendant of a European who has moved to a land where he would be given equal space and opportunities to prosper. An American, as the narrator observes, has the insight to give up the old for the new. He has taken up immense hard work and challenge with a prospect for better living. The narrator also feels that an American can have grandparents from different cultures but shall continue to retain a unique culture shaped by hard work, lawful life and passion for prosperity and better living (Crevecoeur, n.p.). Relevance of Crevecoeur’s Observation in the Present Context Crevecoeur found an American as a man who is ever ready to discard everything that is archaistic, parochial and unlawful for something new. However, in present times the Americans have to face criticism for extreme material pursuit, which makes their convictions of hardship and free will become hollow to a great extent. On top of that, various economic decisions and sluggish military policy, which America has executed in the recent years across the globe, have made it emerge as a new imperial power. A melting pot of extreme liberalism and creating of a new man’s liberal in America seems to get shattered with many incidents of racial abuses making the headlines of the dailies across the country in recent years. Conclusion Crevecoeur’s letter instigates about the glorious past of America. It retells the glorious story of the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity, the pillars on which the fathers of the nation constructed the American Dream. They laid a new land glaring with opportunities and immense possibilities. It’s obvious now that somehow the ideals laid by the forefathers of America are getting diminished day by day. But before they crush down completely or efface from the memory of the citizens of America, bring up attention to the history of its glorious past might serve the purpose of reviving the forgotten ideals once again (Takaki, n.p.). Works Cited Crevecoeur, J. H. Letters from an American Farmer. American Studies at the University of Virginia, 1995. Web. 13 Sep. 2012. Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror. Little, Brown and Company, n.d. Web. 13 Sep. 2012. Read More
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