Study Of Mans Relationship With Nature Colonial America English Literature Essay

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For a deeper study of man's relationship with nature as well as the social forces instigating the current of colonial America, it is essential to turn an author who emigrated from France to America by the name of St. Jean De Crevecoeur. His most vital work, the Letters of from an American Farmer, was not publicized until 1782 and depicts the colonies prior to the revolution. However his descriptions can be applied, with just a little adjustment, to the entire eighteenth century in America. The main focus of these letters was to take into account the ideas which Crevecoeur brought to bear in his effort to expose the character of the American man, newly settled on the eighteenth century frontier. Ordinary history text says little about the colonial events between 1700 and 1750. No significant political changes or any stimulating wrestles with Europe mark this disregarded half-century. Nevertheless, the population, wealth, and racial stock of the period brought forth vital changes. The middle colonies especially grew rapidly, even though they were founded later than Virginia and the commonwealths of New England. A diversified group of European races and religions came to these colonies; many of them were attracted to the policy of religious toleration. According to "Social History of the United States", Crevecoeur believed that Europeans cast off Old World connections when they adapted to American culture. The bulk of these mid- colony-settlers became penny-wise farmers and merchants who, in their allegiance to business no less than in their varied racial stock, predict the typical American of the following century. Due to his extensive closeness with European culture and colonial life here in America, St. Jean de Crevecoeur was well appointed for the job of describing this mixed society. In the first three of the twelve letters written by Crevecoeur, the reader learns that this composition was addressed to an imaginary journalist inquisitive about the colonists' 'new manner of life'. In letter three, he goes on to elaborate his perception of 'What is an American' by using a grand scheme of comparing the lifestyles of England to America. His effort to forge a unique individuality for the 'American', with characteristics that would unify the settlers of this straggling country under one roof; while in the same moment it grounds its variations from Europe from whence it derives most of its figures. Crevecoeur also goes on to describe the country as the great melting pot of the world, a geographical location where a truly different set of people join together and forgetting social, religious, economic, national as well as linguistic differences are melted into one. The procedure of disregarding all differences calls for the common pursuit of what has since then become 'the American Dream'. America, the realm of freedom, equality and opportunity invites all new arrivals to its shores with open arms. The new arrivals in turn are grateful for everything that this new territory has to offer, each one of them personalizing the American Dream, and while pursuing an honest, free and happy life becomes an American leaving their past lives behind. Since the time of Crevecoeur, America has come a long way. Today, obtaining a green card for the sake of legalizing an 'American' identity is maybe one of the most wanted commodities in the world. To be an 'American' is not just an opportunity to be obtained freely anymore, it is a privilege given to the best and brightest from all parts the world. However, some things hardly ever change. This country still stands as the great melting pot of the world. In the present, this is even more so, not like in Crevecoeur's times where only the Europeans or varies groups of Christianity showed up on the shores of this wonderful 'land of dreams'. Multitudes from all nations and belonging to every possible religion live together in peace partaking in on the modern day edition of the 'American Dream. In the ninth 'letter of an American farmer', Crevecoeur elaborates on a trip to the Carolinas where he sojourns with plantation owners at Charles- Town. The beginning of the letter starts with a grateful description of the lavish culture that he discovered. However, no faster than you can blink, Crevecoeur breaks out into a long discussion about slavery. At one point while walking through fields of Charles-Town, he paused over a suffering dark-skinned slave and questioned the plans of both God and Nature in allowing these human beings to dwell and pass away under the unrighteousness of slavery. The vivid images that Jean de Crevecoeur depicted in letter nine, has surely left gruesome images on the minds of the many that have read his letters.

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De Crevecoeur truly concerned himself with the well being of nature and its creatures. He certainly made strong efforts to amplify American's ignorance towards nature and it products. He believed man had no care and concern for nature, and felt that it was unfair because nature has helped man in so many ways that humans think of as frivolous. According to farmer James, cruel nature is the primary creative force in human affairs, and human interaction and structures of feeling are merely its derivatives. One quotation that essentially summarizes Crevecoeur's stance towards Americans and nature comes from Sketches of Eighteenth century America. "If bountiful Nature is kind to us on the one hand, on the other she wills that we shall purchase her kindness not only with sweats and labor but with vigilance and care". Crevecoeur has illustrated through his writings the theoretical edition of a free society, known as America. While the first letters describe a pristine conception of America through the eyes of an American farmer from his secluded farm called Pine Hill, the later letters show a land tarnished and ruined by social and civil discriminations. One such reason for these social and economic ills prior to and after the American Revolution was slavery, and Jean de Crevecoeur did a great job elaborating on the social current of his time.

Work Cited

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/CREV/letter03.html

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