Essay about Influences that Have Shaped American Literature

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Influences that Have Shaped American Literature


There have been a number of influences that have shaped American literature. From the time that Western Europeans founded the country to the inclusion of Native American lore to the contributions of such literary giants as Mark Twain and Carol Sandburg, the composition of American Literature has been both constant and ever changing. In deed as much as America, itself, is a melting pot of diversity within a cultural concern, so too is this considerable diversity a significant aspect of its emerging literature.
Grantland S. Rice, author of The Transformation of Authorship in America, contends that the ultimate composition of American literature is fundamentally based upon a combination
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(Rice 12)
Inasmuch as Rice attributes life’s influences as an integral component of American literature, so too does one of America’s greatest authors: Mark Twain. His Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, thought to be too racy for its own period, has always been received with mixed acceptance even in contemporary times. Capturing the American soul at its utmost depths, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn touches upon a number of unprecedented issues because of the shock value such a book portrays, it has been both embraced and banned for its content. However, it is this very content that has made it one of the most essential aspects of American


Literature, as Twain was not afraid to depict America without rose-colored glasses. It has been called offensive, unpatriotic, racist and a whole host of other uncomplimentary terms; however, it has been – and continues to be – instrumental in describing the sometimes unsavory truth, As the author so eloquently stated to America: “This is how you are, like it or not” (Smith).
As difficult as it has been for Americans to accept the fact that Twain’s account mirrors a harsh reality, the implications of such social atrocities as racism are painfully clear both in written representation as will as in real life. In fact, it can be argued that Adventures of Huckleberry Finn not only symbolizes what it means to be part of the American…