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Least American- American AuthorOf the following American writers which one is the...

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literaturegirl | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 14, 2012 at 7:24 PM via web

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Least American- American Author

Of the following American writers which one is the least representative of the voice, the spirit, and the hopes of America? Why?

Bellow, “Augie March”

O’Connor “Good Country People”

Cheever, “The Swimmer”

Pynchon, “Entropy”

LeGuinn, “Schrodinger’s Cat”

Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

Carver, “Cathedral”

Reed, “Neo-HooDoo Manifesto”

Lahiri, “Sexy”

Jean Toomer, Cane

Hughes, “The Negro Speaks”; “The Weary Blues”

Hurston, “Gilded Six Bits”

McKay, “The Harlem Dancer”

Dos Passos, USA

Boyle, “The White Horses of Vienna”

Steinbeck, “The Leader of the People”

Ginsberg, Howl (E2574-84), “A Supermarket in California”

Plath, “Daddy” (E2704-6); “Lady Lazarus”

Bishop, “The Fish” (E2167), “The Moose”

Lowell, “Skunk Hour” (E2405-7), “For the Union Dead”

Bellow, “Augie March”

O’Connor “Good Country People”

Cheever, “The Swimmer”

Pynchon, “Entropy”

LeGuinn, “Schrodinger’s Cat”

Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

Carver, “Cathedral”

Reed, “Neo-HooDoo Manifesto”

Lahiri, “Sexy”

 

 

7 Answers | Add Yours

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 14, 2012 at 7:53 PM (Answer #2)

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I'm not trying to dismiss the premise of the question, but I think you would need to determine exactly what the "voice, the spirit, and the hopes of America" were before you began answering this question. While I haven't read them all, it seems to me that many of these books complicate the idea that there is a "spirit of America." Why would the voice of Langston Hughes or Allen Ginsberg be any less representative of "America" than any other?  

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:10 AM (Answer #3)

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If forced to choose one, I would probably select LeGuinn’s “Schrodinger’s Cat” because she is really more of a science fiction writer and the story is just plain strange.  This is not to say that America is not about two contradictory realities, but given that I am not sure exactly what you are looking for, this one did not seem to fit in with the others as much.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:58 PM (Answer #4)

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I agree with the second post here. Selecting one voice from the list to exclude or separate from the "spirit of America" feels like anathema to the American project. 

If the question were instead, "Which of these writers presents the strongest voice of political, social, or personal dissent from the mainstream American opinions of his or her era (or today's era)?" then I may be able to help you choose one.

However, dissent is not un-American. 

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:16 PM (Answer #5)

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I don't think it's reasonable to try to pick one of these stories, for the reasons previously posted. Additionally, you should consider the fact that these stories were written at various times, and each really should be considered in the context of when it was written. Are the hopes and dreams of America the same today as they were in 1956 when Ginsberg published Howl? Or 1920, when Hughes wrote The Negro Speaks?

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literaturegirl | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:22 PM (Answer #6)

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In reply to #2: When I think of the "voice, the spirit, and the hopes of America" I think of the overall dreams of Americans for instance home ownership, job stability, patriotism, and family. I believe these are the dreams of the majority or at least of the productive Americans.

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literaturegirl | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:25 PM (Answer #7)

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I agree with the second post here. Selecting one voice from the list to exclude or separate from the "spirit of America" feels like anathema to the American project. 

If the question were instead, "Which of these writers presents the strongest voice of political, social, or personal dissent from the mainstream American opinions of his or her era (or today's era)?" then I may be able to help you choose one.

However, dissent is not un-American. 

Actually that is apart of my assignment. Which one would most represent the "spirit of American"?

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literaturegirl | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 16, 2012 at 8:26 PM (Answer #8)

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I don't think it's reasonable to try to pick one of these stories, for the reasons previously posted. Additionally, you should consider the fact that these stories were written at various times, and each really should be considered in the context of when it was written. Are the hopes and dreams of America the same today as they were in 1956 when Ginsberg published Howl? Or 1920, when Hughes wrote The Negro Speaks?

Yes understand and wish I could choose another final discussion but it is the assignment I have to do.

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