Letters From An American Farmer Essay

Letters From An American Farmer Essay-17
James’s wife shares this concern, and suggests the Mr. This is explored in further detail in the third letter, which examines American identity.

James’s wife shares this concern, and suggests the Mr. This is explored in further detail in the third letter, which examines American identity.James looks at the cultural differences as allowing a unique national character to thrive in the freedom of the New World.”, the full extent of Crèvecoeur’s literary invention and ambition is generally unappreciated.

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Eventually, he settled in New York and became a farmer—the experience lightly fictionalized in his letters, written ostensibly in response to a former European guest’s query about the state of American society.

Fleeing the Revolution as a Tory sympathizer, Crèvecoeur ended up back in France, and his American book became a European success as a proto-Romantic utopian vision of an organic, egalitarian society that would later delight Godwin and Shelley.

While most people who have taken a course in American literature or history have probably encountered this 1782 book’s third chapter, which provides a utopian answer to the question “What Is an American?

John de Crèvecoeur My rating: 5 of 5 stars It might sound odd to call such a ubiquitous text underrated, but I think Letters from an American Farmer is just that.

In many respects, James presents the community as an ideal example of what American life can be—sober, industrious, egalitarian, and humble—presenting it as a microcosm of all that is good in American society.

Letter IX represents a turning point; having witnessed a slave left to die horribly in a cage, James begins to question the goodness of humanity.James recounts his time visiting the island and explores many of the inhabitants’ customs and practices, as well as other aspects of their culture.He discusses the origins of the island’s colonial settlement, the religious practices of the Quakers, the fishing and whaling industries, and the ways the location and lifestyles of the community shape the character of its inhabitants.The Letters are framed as the literary production of a simple Pennsylvania farmer named James, not that of a well-educated and upper-class traveler from Catholic Europe; its wittily metafictional and faux-diffident opening chapter shows him arguing with his wife and the local minister over whether or not such a humble and busy man should even take up the pen.The minister’s suggestion that James’s untutored literary style, if not learned, “will smell of the woods, and be a little wild,” helps to inaugurate an aesthetic of the natural and homemade in American literature that looks forward to everything from Thoreau to Dickinson to Hemingway.This character is simple, humble, honest, and generous, and the product of Americans’ ability to work in peace and freedom for the benefit of themselves, their families, and their communities, rather than for the ruling classes of Europe.Letters IV to VIII are focused on a particular location: Nantucket.Crèvecoeur was a somewhat shadowy Frenchman born to the minor nobility and educated by Jesuits.He found himself in North America in the 1750s, fighting for his homeland in the French and Indian War.Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Differences Between European and American Society and American Identity. B.’s request that James write to him with information about life in America. However, James’s minister is more encouraging and talks at length about the superiority of American egalitarianism compared to Europe’s rigid hierarchies and oppressive relationships.is widely regarded as one of the earliest examples of American literature and a highly-influential epistolary text that includes elements of both fiction and nonfiction. In it, James expresses insecurity about his ability to complete such a task, wondering if F. could not find someone more educated to write to him. As well as providing more detail about the environment in which James lives, the second letter continues to explore differences between Europe and America, with James criticizing the traditional hierarchies of the former and celebrating the freedom, opportunity, and equality of the latter.


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