America 's The Beautiful : America, This New Man? Essay

1372 Words Sep 27th, 2016 6 Pages
America, The Beautiful

“What, then, is the American, this new man?”

In Letters from an American Farmer, J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur presents this question just as the concept of the “American” is becoming a reality. These epistolary essays were initially published in 1782 during a crucial moment in United States history: the foundation of our beloved republic was right around the bend and the inevitable birth of American literature was pending. Due to our then-newness, Letters introduces the European audience to a panoramic view of America’s customs and apparent heritage. Being then-new people, society did not comprehend as to how or whether to corral Americans into a box. We were the undeciphered puzzle the Europeans (the world) could not solve. Perhaps Crèvecoeur declares his initial optimism for this New Man, this New Adam in his much reprinted Letter III. This letter divinizes America or perhaps the glistening generalization of the new frontier — of finding America and the meaning of the American for the first time. The question “What, then, is this American new man” is answered perfectly in this letter. The “American Farmer” of the title is Crèvecoeur’s fictional persona Farmer James, a hillbilly from bucolic Pennsylvania. Letter III positively implies the perfection of this new land. It displays the Farmer James’ dream of what it means to be an American, the musings of new beginnings on newfound land, as if humankind’s past sins were to be forgiven…

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