Perception: the True Meaning of Identity

1716 Words Dec 8th, 2013 7 Pages
American Literature
November 20th, 2012 Perception: The True Meaning of Identity The works published by Whitman, Edwards, and Melville continue to astonish literary critiques today. It amazes me how three writers with such unique qualities all seem to stitch together the same ideas about the “American Identity.” Whitman chooses to see sex as an empowerment on our human race. While Edwards argues that God’s love inspires a fruitful outlook on a trivial life, Melville has no spiritual views and instead ignites his own reasoning to form his perceptions.
Whitman’s theory of an American identity rests on an interpretation of sexual reproduction within our humanity. Children of Adam gives our lives true purpose and sheds light on the
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“I had vehement longings of soul after God and Christ, and after holiness; wherewith my heart seemed to be full, and ready to break” (p.401). However, these words support a tone of voice that reflects a man writing a romantic letter for the woman he loves. He spends hours isolated in the woods praying to the Lord, exchanging concerns and ideas just as a couple would. “…used to spend abundance of my time, in walking alone in the woods, and solitary places, for meditation, soliloquy and prayer, and converse with God” (p.401). Living in this time period undoubtedly filled a majority of Puritans with fear because they faced constant attacks, starvation, and disease. It comes as no surprise that there were more than a few Puritans with wavering faith. Edwards saw the materialistic worries that people had and wanted to open up new possibilities for everyone facing these struggles. “I felt then a great satisfaction as to my good estate. But that did not content me” (p.401). For him, there seemed to be no greater love given to humanity than that of the Lord. His mission was to share this with his community so they too could achieve an intimate and unconditional love with God as he had. Although Edward’s lost sight of his faith at times, he repented his sin through constant reflection and realized the little worries in life can never amount to the peace he feels in his own heart. “Prayer

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