Myth Of The American Adam Analysis

1058 Words 5 Pages
Chirstin Kennedy
October 8, 2017
ENG 352
Midterm Exam

Part 1: Short Answer (45 points)
1.) What is the myth of the American Adam? Choose one of our syllabus readings and explain how this text illustrates this concept.
The myth of the American Adam refers to the concept of it being the central element of American Literature. It is a 19th century mythology about American identity, most importantly that the authentic American is a HERO of innocence and has a vast potential controlled at the start of history. The American Hero is Adams pre-fall of man and was coined by R.W.B Lewis. The American Adam explores America as the “new man” and the idea of an innocent Adam in a bright new world and dissociating himself from the historic past. The American
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Whitman’s poem is ultimately about valuing everything with the reference to the “self”. Self-identity only comes up a few times in the poem, however it is centrally the main theme of the poem. Whitman sees his self-identity split into three components (everyday personality, the inner “self”, and the universal soul.) Whitman’s inner most identity is connected to all things in the world. Whitman depicts in this poem that the term "self" is the essence of Emerson's self-reliant man who captures the extremely diverse nature of America and the very many people that exist within it. The cosmos also relates to the poem being about the “self”, Whitman explains that the individual is just as concerned as the whole. In section 21, Whitman declares to be “the poet of the body and the poet of the soul.” He is a pleasure of men and women, as well as pleasure and pain. In section 24, he refers to himself as a cosmo “Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son.” The word cosmos means “Universe” and can amount to the definition of Whitman’s self who loves all …show more content…
Which of our authors critique the notion of self-reliance or offer alternative understandings of the self’s relation to others and to the world? How and why do they critique? Or how and why do they offer alternatives?
In Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” he explains his definition, “It is easy to see that a greater self-reliance—a new respect for the divinity in man—must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of men; in their religion; in their education; in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association; in their property; in their speculative views.” (p. 248) Self- Reliance is a bid of for self-interest. The “self” is part of god’s being so in order to find the truth for oneself, one must find the truth for ALL human beings. Ralph Waldo Emerson urged self-reliance because it is only the person who is courageous enough to be different, will likely discover the truth. The American Scholar is an example of Self- Reliance/ Self-trust. The American Scholar is ultimately a speech given by Emerson to Phi Beta Kappa Society where he explains his struggle to becoming self-reliant. “For the ease and pleasure of treading the old road, accepting the fashions, the education, the religion of society, he takes the cross of making his own, and, of course, the self-accusation, the faint heart, the frequent uncertainty and loss of time, which are the nettles and tangling vines in the way of the self-relying

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