Essay: What Makes American Literature American?

What makes American literature “American” in terms of ideas and themes? Literature is like a river that carries human history, psyche, evolution, society, and emotions along with its flow. It communicates ideas and connects minds. It is a source of information, and for some it is leisure. Literature conveys logic, yet it is produced with passion. It offers a platform for sharing facts, and it also provides an escape from the uptight world around. Literature is an important element of culture; it describes the mindset of the people, common rituals, and the structure of society prevalent in a particular community or culture. American Literature is no different.

American Literature is the translator of the American mind. American’s are known for going against the conventions, it is more about setting new standards looking for opportunities, and refraining from what is not justifiable (Crevecoeur 2). The main contrast between English and American literature is based on style, and source of inspiration. Though in the modern literature one may find some overlaps between the two; however, in the English Literature Holy Scriptures and divine deities have been used as inspiration, while for American, the main subject of study has been man and society (Emerson 7). English Literature being more conservative is inclined towards hero-worship and glamorous theme. On the other hand, American writers have used their words to express the absurdity of life, and the focus of their creation has been normal events of life. The beauty of American literature is the effort that American authors have invested in discussing human affairs. To conclude one can say that American literature is an offspring of English literature, with a different blueprint.

Crevecoeur, J. Hector St. John. “Letters from an American Farmer .” 1782.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Self Reliance.” 1841.

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