American Literature of the Twentieth Century Essay

American Literature of the Twentieth Century Essay

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The country as it was in the early part of the twentieth century was shaped toward regenerating and recovering from World War I, the Great Depression, and a lot of other socially-crippling disruptions that were forever altering the United States in a lot of different ways. Some of the changes were good, and others were not so good. The spirit of loyalty and patriotism were alive and thriving in the air and in everyone's hearts, and the literature of that time greatly reflects the influence that this surge of patriotism brought upon the American peoples.

Regionalism and the regional consciousness that came along with it is reflected greatly in many of the works in which we have read. Most all of the authors, including the poets, that we studied touched on a lot of the same subjects which we reflect upon in thinking about our heritage and out nation's history, and how that history has helped to shape the country that we have today. Two of the main social values that were visibly touched upon were loyalty and our ability to be able to selflessly sacrifice something that meant a lot to the characters in the works, whether that be a sense of self, a lover, and so on and so forth. W. D. Howells short story "Editha" is a very clear representation of the idea of loyalty, while encompassing all of the things that represent the concept of regionalism at its finest. The main character Editha pressures her love George into fighting in a war which neither he nor anyone in his family deems right and just, but swept up in the furor of the region which Editha was living in. "…contemporaneous with the growth of the war feeling, she had been puzzled by his want of seriousness about it. He seemed to despise it even more than...


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... the personification of the fog "The fog comes in on little cat feet" showcases how a natural occurrence in nature can give an example of how the world works. The people in it are stealthy, etc. Lastly in "Grass", when he says "I am the grass. Let me work.", he is talking of how we use something so simple as burial to cover up our mistakes in history and all the things that we do that we are not so proud of. We use our relationship with nature in a lot of bad ways by polluting the world, building in every open space, etc.

Regionalism and naturalism are evident in all areas of literature, especially the time period that we studied. All of the authors really showcased how our relationships with our surroundings as far as the world and its influence on us and our influence on it goes, and also with how we treat nature and everything comes back on us.

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