Summary Of A Clean Well Lighted Place

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Randolph Bourne’s piece of writing is clearly inspired by a desire for a cosmopolitan America he feels would be different in spirit and character to the countries of ‘old’ Europe; which is associated with his overarching desire for an “American” identity that is not totally Anglo-Saxon. This is what inspires him in his call for a “pragmatic”, “realistic” nation, a “trans-national” one. Bourne’s potential idea of a “pragmatic” America would consist of a multicultural America. This is undoubtedly a linkage that provides Bourne with sustenance and motivation throughout his writing. Yiyun Li’s “A Clean Well Lighted Place” was able to explore a sense of discovery to how the rest of the world views America in modern times. For more than a century …show more content…
It’s unclear if she’s explicitly championing or challenging Bourne’s ideas. In a sense it makes you feel that she is doing both. She’s able to recognize that America is not all that it’s cracked up to be, and that the American way of life is something that is too foreign for her to fully understand. The concept of “having fun” begins to trouble her and is quite unsure as to how to perceive and receive that expression. There are moments while reading about her experience that you begin to wonder whether or not she is thinking about Major Tang and his opinions about America that he shared with her while she was still back home and not in …show more content…
The idea of being able to have worries and just “have fun” is a new and unrealistic idea for Li. It makes it seem that the idea of having to work hard to try to achieve your goals and aspirations in this country is overshadowed by the trivial idea of not forgetting to “have fun” along the way. Li’s comparison of ‘having fun’ and fluorescent lighting sheds more light on the façade that Americans are responsible for portraying. Throughout Li’s experience, she isn’t pondering the cultural and social obstacles that plague America, instead it seems that she’s trying to understand why nothing is being done about

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