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This Essay Looks At The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn And Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper And Discusses How They Illustrate Aspects Of The American Identity.

3656 words - 15 pages

Reading American literature provides insight and instruction on American citizenship and can teach us is various ways how to live as Americans. Examining American literature and art are methods that would help an immigrant coming to America understand the complex and many-sided meanings associated with becoming and living as an American. There are several authors and artists that can provide tools for immigrants trying to learn about the American identity, but the two that I will be discussing in this paper are Mark Twain and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.In the history of American fiction, one could argue that no other author looms as large as Samuel L. Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Mark Twain had an amazing understanding of the inner workings of the human mind, both good and bad. A partial list of Twain's work provides proof enough of his importance to American literature. A resume that includes The Innocence Abroad, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is enough to cause any other writer to feel a bit more humble. In fact, Huckleberry Finn is considered by many to be "The Great American Novel ". Ernest Hemmingway stated: "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn....There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."Several themes run quietly through the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a book often thought to be simply a carefree children's novel. Though the book may certainly be read on this level, it's also important to recognize Twain's less obvious motives for writing his epic American novel. Twain's introductory warning about the dangers of finding motives, morals, or plots in his novel ironically proves the existence of each. This piece was published in 1876 but the story is set in 1835 or 1845. This is interesting because it is written after the Civil War, yet takes place well before the Civil War. This piece has been the subject of many debates and has even been banned in schools at one point. Nevertheless, this piece of literature incorporates several themes and presents several ideas that can be used to illustrate many aspects of American citizenship and the American identity, such as rebellion and individualism.Rebellion is a part of the American identity. Rebellion has had its place in America from its formation and the tradition of rebellion persists today. This idea of rebellion is prevalent in much of American literature, but no other character demonstrates this concept quite like Huckleberry Finn. Huck is the ultimate American rebel. Huck rebels against the norms of society and his character is used to questions the norms, customs, and the structure of that time period's idea of "civilization."An examination of Huck can teach us about how to survive in America. Huck's character goes against the grain of society in several ways. He is skeptical of the ideals of...

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