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Essay What It Means To Be An American

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Throughout the life span of the United States, from its infancy after the Revolution to the present, people have asked, “What is an American?” This question goes far beyond asking who is a citizen or who resides in this land. No, it asks what the identity of an American is? Through popular, art, film, and literature, the American image is defined as being based on embracing our individual identities.
Movies are a perfect way to express the image of America. Movies are the mixture of art, music, and literature, containing words like a book, sounds like music, and images like art. This trinity of expression helps illustrate the picture of the individual. The western genre of film is a perfect example of this. The old west was a place that was dangerous and uncompromising. The land was lawless and criminals and bandits grew from it. Only those who were fit could survive its harsh nature. The frontier was said to be a place where a man could have a clean slate. The Dollar Trilogy starring Clint Eastwood illustrates this point. Clint Eastwood stars as The Man with No Name. In each movie the other characters refer to him by different names. In The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly the character is called Blondie by Tuco, another main character. The story is about three men: Blondie, the bounty hunter, Eagle Eyes, and the criminal, Tuco; these characters are the good, the bad, and the ugly mentioned in the title of the film. The film takes place in the old west at the time of the Civil War. Confederate gold had been buried in a grave, in the movie Tuco learns where the graveyard is while Blondie figures out the name of the grave it’s in. Tuco and Blondie have to work together to find the gold, even though they hate each other. Eagle Eye learn...


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...the individuality of the American image that is the foundation of our nation. It is through these explanations that this idea of the American image can be put forth. It will be the foundation of the American image in the future.



Works Cited

Baum, L Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Chicago: George M Hill, 1900. Print.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Dir. Sergio Leone. Perf. Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli
Wallach. United Artist, 1966. DVD.
O’Keefe, Georgia. Black Iris 3. 1926.
Scott Joplin. Maple Leaf Rag. Connorized and Aeolian Uni-Record, 1917. Piano roll.
Taylor, Quentin. “Money and Politics in the Land of Oz.” The Independent Review: The Independent Institute 9.3 (2005): n. page. Web. 19 May 2010.
Thompson, Hunter. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. New York City: Random House, 1971. Print


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