Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
12 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
You have had a semester to read, write, think, and discuss Early American literature, history, society, and the role literature played in helping to form what it has meant and means to be an American.  In your final online forum discussion, reflect on what you have learned about the role played by Early American history in forming American society, American’s image of itself, the American character, and of you.  

In short, how has Early American literature helped to answer the question, "What is an American?"

Thanks for being my students and taking the time to learn.

Steve
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Kristi Kesler
"What is American"...in short, American is everything and everyone mixed into one heck of a country with vast freedoms and endless possibilities.  Our history, literature, art, and lifestyles have evolved and gradually become what they are today; because of these vast cultures that have mixed together we have come as one nation to prosper on this land.  If you were to exempt any aspect of those mentioned above the United States would be a totally different environment to live in.  In current America we have endless possibilities...too many to count or list.  Our American lives are full of options and we benefit from every aspect of that.  Often these possibilities cause our families and ourselves much grief and harm but when put in the right hands with the proper educated decisions...we are unstoppable.  I had never really thought much of literature, especially considering it does seem to run hand in hand with history as well as art but it has much to offer.  Ironically enough I have taken all three classes this semester:  Art History, American History, and this here Literature class.  It has actually ended up being quite the complimentary combination.  Granted I wanted to bang my head on the desk more often than not, I feel that I have actually become worldlier over the past few months.  Never would have I ever thought the U.S. Constitution to be a piece of literature but it absolutely is.  It’s an incredible piece of work that has been upheld for years.  American literature ranges from everything from the dismals of Poe to the Enlightenment writing of Henry David Thoreau to the intellectual writings of Madison and Franklin.  This is a prime example of the “mixing bowl” that we have come to be!
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Roland Simmons
Being an American the history of America and everything that America means to me. Being an American to me is having opportunity, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and living a lifestyle that people from other countries want to adopt. Being an American is not just having a US citizenship. American is so much more than that. Being an American you have privileges, independence, and freedom to sell goods the right to education and the right to stand up for what you believe. Being an American not only do you have rights but you can take pride in owning your own business your own home and the right to defend your own country. We as Americans who live by the American Constitution also live by literature from people in the past. Madison, Jefferson, Edgar Allen Poe, and Henry Davis Thoreau. Literature from these individuals help to set the standards on which we live as America. The guidelines that our fathers laid out for us in the Constitution. We also extend a helping hand to those who do not know know I have the ability to achieve their own freedom in other countries, showing others the joy we have as an American. We as in American society have experienced changes that are not only some time for the good. Yet there is still good among us. We as Americans can still change to a course that is towards a better path and remain the land of opportunity for all.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Cynthia
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
           It is more than obvious for me now that American literature helped to form the American society. Of course a lot of things have changed with the course of the years, but the essence is still the same. The early American society was based on morals and behaviors that were brought from England.
           As time went by Americans started to incorporate their own wishes and ways to do the things, I believe they wanted to have an own identity. As now, we can learn from texts written years and years ago, which can teach the new generations how the things used to be. Using these same texts we can see the differences on how things were in the past and compare to how they are now.
           A great example of how literature has influenced America is that we can go back and look on the constitution, the same one written in the past is used nowadays, where this is a good thing or not I do not know. The world has changed, so has America, maybe rules that have applied in the late 30’s do not apply for us anymore, but some other rules are still in place.
          Americans are all those people that have fought for their rights, their own identity, culture and beliefs. It does not matter if you are black, white, yellow, or blue, what unites all those is the feeling they share for their nation. They have the same desire to grow, to have good jobs, constitute and raise a great family and just enjoy life!
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Courtney
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Being an American represents so many things, it is hard to narrow it down. For me, being an American means having freedoms and opportunities. America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. As American citizens, we have rights that many others could only dream of having such as the right to bear arms, and the right to an attorney. Many factors have transformed America into what it is today, including literature by some very great people such as Thoreau, Jefferson, and Madison. Thomas Jefferson in particular helped write the Declaration of Independence which is a valuable document for America. Also, James Madison put in his take on factions. Is our government taking advantage of its power? Although America may not have turned out the way that Madison and Jefferson thought it would, it is still considered the best place on Earth to me. There is nowhere else I would rather live than in the United States of America.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Nina
What it means to be an American has endless meanings and numerous descriptions. However what an American means to me is someone who understands the greatness of this, their, country and all the wonders it provides us. America is a place of true freedom, liberty, happiness, and most of all a place where dreams can come true. Anyone can have the access to the amazing opportunities this land holds, a place where you are allowed to become the true individual you are inside; America is the place where your voice does make a change! America was built on the strong backbone of our founding fathers that created the Constitution we live by today, the dreamers who wrote about the future they saw for us, the literature that developed the free minds and speech for this country. Early American Literature holds more than just history and old English, but it was the beginning of how America and Americans were formed into this unique mixing bowl we are today. How we don’t turn our backs on others, but lend a helping hand to any kind of race. How we do not judge people by their beliefs and morals, but are opened minded to understand them. How we are able to speak and express our deep emotions on any passionate subject without fear. America is a country whose citizens can proudly stand up and say that they are a true and honored American!
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Sha Trent
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Based upon the readings and discussions this semester, I think that the role Early American history played in forming American society, it’s image of itself, the American character and myself was and still remains to be a significant one. While having the entire semester to read and discuss what it is to be an American, I've had the first opportunity in my life to reflect on what it really means. In society, it forced people to confront, and in some ways, conform to methods they opposed. For instance, religion played a huge part in forming this country, and through tolerance and open-mindedness, people have acquired a middle ground that has set the stage for diversity that this country personifies. In its image of itself, America can see the changes that have taken place through the freedoms it allows it citizens, immigrants and visitors, as well as, the injustices for its Native people. It also demonstrates the changes that need to be made to make this country more functioning, such as the elimination of Electoral College. As for the image of the American character, it’s apparent that American history provided its occupants with various forms of ideas, ideals, behaviors and sentiments. I believe that Americans behave like only Americans can: free…and somewhat spoiled. As for my image, I can honestly say that although, I have often refuted and outright denied American history as MY history, it is. It has provided me the opportunity to openly practice what I believe, freely say what I feel,  learn everything there is and grow with this country…spoiled and all.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Kendall
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Early American Literature gives us answers as to how we should or shouldn't be in our society. It tells about our past and it leads us to have ideas about the future. Our history is the standing ground of our nation. With us as young learners being educated about our past, we are able to lead and show others what we should do to keep a strong country. Our literature shows us what we used to be and how we got to where we are. We should be proud to be an American, and we should all take the time to learn about our history in order to really appreciate where we are and what we have today!
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Keith Vertrees
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
It's clear that the voice of a people is shaped by the voices of the past, and nowhere is this as evident as within the evolution of our nation. The principles and values that we share, or fight about, were crafted through intense discorse in our early history.

The founding of our nation required a critical approach to government. Naturally this led to debate and criticism of other nation's forms of government. The nation was founded not by a family or a conquering army, but by a group of people who wanted to avoid the mistakes of the past. This sentiment itself, I believe, has given us the unique American voice that can be so harsh and gritty, yet at the same time eloquent, and in the long run, almost always honest.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Jeff
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
I believe early American literature played a major role in making this country what it is today.   Whether it was inspiring militia member’s to continue fighting for independence, giving Americans a glimpse into the life of one (or many) of its founders, giving slaves a voice and chance to cry out for the same freedoms the Declaration of Independence states, or fueling the imagination, literature spread its author’s ideas throughout the colonies and early union.  Literature gave people an idea of a government and way of life never before seen in history.  It spread the ideas of what’s truly important in life, and what ideas and values are worth sacrificing for.   We are what we are today because of the ideas some of Americas early authors.  We may disagree with the underlining message they were trying to get across, but that’s what is great about the country we live in.  The intentions of our founding fathers will always be easily accessible to all of us, and will continue to influence the direction of our country.    
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Rich Sena
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
This quantified my theory that social movements dictate the pulse of the writing. Romanticism changed to enlightenment after the civil war and emancipating the slaves.  Enlightenment changed to realism in the industrial era, following people wanting things that relate more and more to the common man. Basically literature that wasn’t written for the elite, literature that depicted shady characters that had likeable qualities, literature became to emulate life more and more. Then with the start of the great depression we see an extreme form of realism called naturalism, where the characters are molded by social, hereditary, or economic influence. Works like Mac Teague that showed raw people put into everyday situations and having real human emotions, and reacting as normal people would. And when the U.S. Became the most literate country in the world we see pulp emerge as sorts of escapism for the everyday working class stiff. Examples of this escapism would be tales like Tarzan, Conan, or Lovecraft’s works.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Week Sixteen: The Role of Literature

Woubet Gebreab
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
 
The role played by Early American history in forming American society is the freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion, own a house or business, having the opportunity for education and become successful in life.  

   The current American society, image and character are a mirror reflection from the early American literature in regards to ethics, moral and values as an American Citizens.  The founding fathers and the authors of various literature pieces are the tools for the foundation of today’s democratic government.  

  This is why other countries society and government look up to the American government and people as an example to freedom and democracy.  I knew about all these things about America but it is different when I read the literature books, research about some topics and words like “Faction” and the second U.S. constitution it helped me learn.