The Complex And Rebellious History Of American Literature Essay

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The Complex and Rebellious History of American Literature
Many scholars agree that the history of American Literature has slowly evolved from one philosophy growing out of or rebelling against the common belief of the time. Each stemmed out of another to create another philosophy, another lifestyle, and another culture. Some of the most the important philosophies in American history are Puritanism, Deism, Romanticism, Transcendentalism, Realism, Naturalism, Modernism and Existentialism. Many important authors of the time contemplated and analyzed these ideas that helped shape American society, and to help each individual find his or her place and role in society.
Puritanism is the cornerstone of America. It was based on Calvinism, but evolved
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They wrote in detail about life as it was around them and did not create any romanticized ideas on how life really was. Mark Twain was a Realist author who wrote about life in the South. Although his character Huck Finn begins to think that slavery is wrong, he still cannot change completely and says “you can 't learn a nigger to argue” (14). When Huck says this, it shows how he generalizes black people into one category and still does not regard Jim as an individual. This is a Realistic writing style because obviously a person does not change over night, but instead learns and matures slowly. Another characteristic of writing during this time is local color. Twain uses local color when Jim says, “I doan k 'yer what de widder say, he WARN 'T no wise man nuther” (3). When Twain writes Jim’s dialogue, the diction and phonetically spelled words give the reader the feeling of the actual time period. Local color was used because authors wanted it to realistically reflect people’s dialects and way of life at the …show more content…
They had no meaning in life except that they were responsible for creating their own purpose for existence. They were solely responsible for their actions, and no one else. Existentialists also believe that an individual should act the same way in private and public. They thought one should be comfortable with oneself and one’s chosen meaning of life. Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye shows that he is an existentialist when he says he hates the word grand because “It’s a phony. [He] could really puke every time [he heard] it” (Salinger 9). When Holden says he does not like something, it is usually because he thinks it is phony and fake. He does not like the word grand because he thinks people use it when someone does not actually think something is grand but more because they do not know what other word to use. Holden displays other ideas of existentialism in his thinking when he says he’d “bet a thousand bucks Jesus never sent old Judas to Hell” even though he was the one who betrayed Jesus (Salinger 100). Holden believes this because in existentialism, one takes responsibility for one’s actions. Holden says Jesus picked his disciples at random, and because He picked them at random and did not have time to analyze them, so he brought the betrayal on Himself and did not send Judas to Hell. Holden does not blame Jesus for not having time, but it shows that he thinks that no one else is

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