In the American Grain Themes

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The Place

The idea of “place” is significant in an understanding of national identity, but maybe more significant in the American identity than in that of some other nations. America will always be the New World and, as such, unformed, unsophisticated, more inclined to action than to thought. Many of its more interesting citizens will suffer for this, because, Williams believes, it is always easier to fit within an established framework than to forge a new path.

America begins as a “savage continent,” and to form it into a nation requires both the empty fierceness of the Puritans and the wild despair of Poe, the very ordinary resourcefulness of Columbus and the nastiness of Red Eric and his daughter Freydis. With these essays, Williams’s aim is to see with new eyes those figures important to American growth – to see them in human and poetic terms.

The American Grain

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This section contains 315 words
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