American Literature helps me to expand the boundaries of my own experience. From Native American writings, African American writings, Modernism and Transcendentalism the range of artistic growth that I have endured over the past 12 weeks in learning and indulging in American Literature is astounding. An ongoing element seems to constantly arise, the sense of self. Finding the purpose we have as individuals and how we then fit into society. For many writers, their connection to their truth has been through ideals such as nature.
Our society, although an ever-changing place still has one constant, the kindness and beauty which nature embeds into our lives, which many in this decade have forgotten about or ignorantly, left behind. My personal connection with this idea has been through learning vividly about Transcendentalism but being still left questioning the new information. It is something that is hard to define and decipher known as a philosophical movement in American Literature. We are constantly reminded in all the busyness of life how it could cloud our judgment, our thoughts, our truths. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Nature” reminds us of what has been forgotten, listening to our own opinions and ourselves are the paths that will lead us to the truths in our lives. Emerson looks at his life as “a transparent eye-ball” (Chapter 1), expressing that what we see and the opinions we form is what makes us who we are the unique beings we were purposely created for.
Nevertheless, when looking at Modernism a prominent poet stood out to me having studied a few texts by him before, T.S Eliot. He was known for free verse; I saw this through collectively annotating Section V of T.S Eliot’s “Burnt Norton”. It spoke to me as a reflection of where words have the possibility of taking you such as the aspect of life as it moves in the one direction from start to finish. Each line became more correct than the last in my opinion, I received the message that the power that concepts and ideas have been the ones we create ourselves. Knowing that the thoughts we conjure up are the means for the greatness and power in the focus of an individual and how they take worth of they life is extremely empowering to me, it’s as if we as beings have had all the power all along.
Although in the unit we learned about William Faulkner at the closing half of the semester, his work is the highlight of my time participating in American Literature. Although had never studied him or his works let alone hearing his name, Faulkner is known to be one of the 20th centuries greatest writers and as a result of this, his appeal to my learning was second to none. When especially looking in deep detail of, “As I Lay Dying” both through the text as well as watching a film displayed certain characteristics that shouldn’t normally work but just incredibly do. The way in which he created characters that were extreme polar opposites except were connected through blood Faulkner showed an effort to articulate the inexpressible aspects of individual psychology through each individual character.
As a result, American literature has provided me with literary pathways for my mind to flourish in. In all honesty, some key writers such as T.S Eliot, William Faulkner and Robert Frost have all impacted my way of thinking and have opened many more dimensions of where my mind could travel. I know now that the boundaries are endless and that my experiences in life are only the beginning of the connections I have with my thoughts, words and actions.