Essay about Communication in American Literature

Essay about Communication in American Literature

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American literature has changed since the industrial revolution. As a child matures into an adult, so has American literature grown to include the problems faced in reality. The word “fiction” transformed from the fairy tales of romanticism to the reality of realism in America. Authors such as: Clemens, Howells, Chopin, Eliot, Faulkner, and Anderson have all assisted the move from dreams to reality. Dramatists O’neill and Miller have written plays that have changed the way social circumstances are viewed by Americans. Americans, as portrayed by American writers, have been plagued with an inability to communicate feelings through speech, yet from the industrial revolution to post second World War, American writers have portrayed the unuttered words of feeling in novels, poems, plays, and short stories.

Communication is important to the life of human beings, yet communicating feelings in words has never been top priority in American literature. A characters thoughts and feelings rarely surface, resulting in a conflict of sorts with other characters. Communication in realistic literature displays body language in great detail, as well as characters personal thoughts and reactions to stimuli. Samuel L. Clemens, described by The Oxford Companion to American Literature as a “journalistic humorist in the frontier tradition” (Hart 162), wrote several compositions pitting romanticism against realism. In Clemens’ Huckleberry Finn, a moral dilemma between characters is not addressed in words, but in thoughts. Realistically, humans do not express speech or take action before thinking; therefore, the documentation of thought is more accurate than the blurting out of ideas. When Huck is faced with the moral...


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...ckleberry Finn. (1876) Baym, Nina, et al., eds. 28-216.

Eliot, T.S. The Wasteland. (1921) Baym, Nina, et al., eds. 1380-1392

Howells, W.D. “Editha”. (1907) Baym, Nina, et al., eds. 258-267

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. (1949) Baym, Nina, et al., eds. 1920-1985

O’neill, Eugene. The Hairy Ape. (1921) http://www.theatrehistory.com/plays/hairyape001.html.

Rideout, Walter B. “The Simplicity of Winesburg, Ohio” (1962) Rpt. in Winesburg, Ohio eds. Modlin, C.E. and White, R.L. A Norton Critical Edition NY: Norton 1996.

Trachtenberg, Alan. The Incorporation of America: Culture & Society in the Gilded Age. ed. Foner, Eric NY: Hill and Wang 1982.

Updike, John. “Twisted Apples” (1984) Rpt. in Winesburg Ohio eds. Modlin, C.E. and White, R.L. A Norton Critical Edition NY: Norton 1996.

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