The Beginning Of Labyrinth Of Solitude By Octavio Paz

1602 Words Oct 6th, 2016 7 Pages
At the beginning of Labyrinth of Solitude, Octavio Paz compares periods of change and growth in a nation to that of an adolescent developing a sensibility of his own being. “He is astonished at the fact of this being and this astonishment leads to reflection: as he leans over the river of his consciousness, he asks himself if the face that appears there, disfigured by the water, is his own…eventually these features are seen as a face, and later as…a meaning, a history” (9-10). “To become aware of our history,” he explains, “is to become aware of out singularity” (10). With this newly found self-consciousness, the nation continues, better able to understand its own actions and its relation to the surrounding world. It is perhaps, in this spirit that Robert Bellah and his colleagues wrote Habits of the Heart. They remark in the updated introduction that they were provoked into self-consciousness by “worries about crime, moral decline, and deepening divides of income and opportunity” (vii). In the process of self-examination, the authors identify qualities and traditions they consider quintessentially American, and call upon readers to reclaim these traditions to preserve and improve the sense of community and commitment to others they consider crucial for national preservation.
In developing their own sense of Americanism, the authors of Habits of the Heart rely heavily on the classic study of American culture outlined by the Frenchmen Alexis de Tocqueville in…

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