American Ethnic Literature Essay

1100 Words Feb 20th, 2013 5 Pages
What makes American literature American?
America has long been fans of the superior writers, such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald for their various works including “The Great Gatsby” and “The Old Man in the Sea”, America has been known for its fondness of short stories. American literature aims to embody the values and morals of the American culture. The foundation of American values include the rights to liberty, justice, freedom, equality, love, and family, American literature usually will be centered in one or more of these ideals. American literature incorporates the story of an American character and their encounters with the land and the people, exemplifying the human need to control and understand their environment. “Whitman emerges
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Ethnic writers may have a difficult time relating to American ideals and cultural references since they will be different from the cultural references and ideals of their own country. Ethnic writers are challenged to explore different cultures and their traditions to try to understand the American mindset and what it means to be an American citizen. “Perceptions of social belongingness and autonomy have been described in self-determination theory (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, & Ryan, 1991) as fundamental needs that support life happiness and success” (Clark, C. R., Mercer, S. H., Zeigler-Hill, V., & Dufrene, B. A. (2012)).
How do ethnic writers define literature? How does that differ from the canon of traditional American literature?
Ethnic writes define literature as a work that encompasses ideal of humanity and life. Literature in itself identifies and describes in detail the lives and the objectives of human beings and the world as they experience it. Ethnic writers look for stories that tell of cultural traditions and the ideals of ancient society such as loyalty, and triumph over oppression. Ethnic literature gives intimate details of the lives of a specific culture telling the readers about the life that their character lives and the country from which they come from. According to Phinney (1996) there are three identifying traits

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