New Start as a Theme Term Paper
- Length: 7 pages
- Sources: 6
- Subject: Literature
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #41620170
Excerpt from Term Paper :
Thus, the term "a new start" came to embody a lofty ideal and it was considered to be more important from the simple fact that the respective period in history dealt with the particular issues addressed by people such as Thomas Paine. For instance, he tried, through his writing to give a new incentive for the people fighting for the independence from Britain and from this point-of-view he is remembered as an important figure of the era (Philip, 2005).
Without a doubt there are periods in history that are dominated by certain interpretations of the notion of "a new start." This is precisely due to the fact that the American literature, it its attempt to escape the influence and the stereotypes of the British creations, have searched for new sources of inspiration. In this sense, while in the British Isles the romantic view of the world was still predominant, in the American territories, although the general trend was in accordance with the British one, there was an increased accent on the regional orientation of the literature. Literature was used in this case as a means of promoting the emergence of the national identity precisely through this idea of "a new start." Especially during the Civil War, the notion of a new beginning for the nation was well preserved and used to increase the motivation of the soldiers. The poetry in this sense is relevant. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a number of poems that tried to motivate the troops by suggesting a new start in a united nation "Calm as that second summer which precedes / the first fall of the snow, / in the broad sunlight of heroic deeds, / the city bides the foe." (Kwok, 2001)
There are American writers that are actually aware of the existence of this theme. This is obvious in their literary creations. For instance, the heroic poems or the texts of Thomas Paine that promotes and appeals to the sense of patriotism have a clear target, the mobilization of the population, not necessarily in time of war, but rather in support of a new nation. However, it is rather hard to determine whether the theme "a new start" was relevant in sense of its mentioning to the writers themselves. It can be said more that the pieces of work subsumed a certain theme without it being properly labeled.
The history of a nation and consequently of its literature is of great importance to the writers, especially the writers that try to establish a new sense of direction for this literature. Therefore, it can be said that writers are well aware of the history such a theme entails because of their constant studies and, indeed, because, at the time, much of the history they wrote about was ongoing. The theme "a new start" requires a well established historical background because it relates to the history of the country whose literary trends they try to establish.
Depending on the genres each writer approaches, the treatment of the theme is different. In this sense, for instance, Thomas Paine's account and desire to mobilize the masses to the defense of the country was made through prose and did not entangle many figures of speech or sensitive imagery (Philp, 1995). On the other hand, the way in which the theme is treated in poetry is different because it makes use of more artistic means of expression and thus defines the issue at hand from a more lyrical perspective. Even so, there are different publics these types of literary genres try to address. Thus, the textual creation tends to address the masses, while poetry addresses a more elevated public that is emotionally endowed with the possibility of understanding the sentiments presented.
The issue of background represented an important limit writers had to surpass in order to achieve a relevant status for the emerging American literature. In the beginning, it is a rather well-known fact the idea that most writers came from Britain and adopted the British way of writing and expression. However, as time passed, the issue of the American literature and not literature written in English became an aim in itself. Thus, more and more American writers emerged and, after studies at Harvard or other prestigious schools, they came to actually establish the American literary world (Spengemann, 1985).
Overall, it can be concluded that the theme "a new start" in the American literature represented an important step in the establishment of the national identity of the American people in each of its important moments. Although it suffered a series of interpretations, they all related to the idea of national identity and the emergence of a new citizenship, state, and nation.
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Larkin, Edward. (2008). Thomas Paine and the Literature of Revolution. Cambridge University Press.
Outline of American Literature. (2006). Democratic Origins and Revolutionary Writers, 1776-1820. USINFO.STATE.GUV website. 13 Feb 2008. http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/oal/lit2.htm
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Spengemann, William C. (1985) "American Writers and English Literature." ELH, Vol. 52,…