Essay Example: American Literature

American literature has had its roots from ancient times when the world was still undergoing very many different social phenomena. Many of the people that engaged in literature had an upper hand as they had experiences with certain phenomena and thus making their works exquisite. There were different time periods with regard to literature and in these periods existed different writers. One of the most renowned writers of all time is Edgar Allan Poe. His works have had great impact on the lives of very many people. People learn many themes from the works of people like Edgar Allan Poe and other different aspects such as the heritage and the origin of love and relationships.

One of the greatly recognized periods in the history of literature is the Romanticism movement. This movement was majorly present in Europe towards the culmination of the eighteenth century. The main characteristics and the factors that made romanticism different from any other literary period is the fact that the writers from this period expressed a lot of emotions and feelings as they put down their works of art (Thomson 92). The period was also coupled with a strong belief in nature as a major component of the society not only physically but also socially and thus was incorporated. Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greatest artists of these times and his works such as Tales of Grotesque and Arabesque show deep emotions in relation to the characters. An example is in the manner in which religion took a deep view in the revelation of romanticism as explained by Edgar Allan Poe where these tales make it rather clear the position of women in churches and mosques as compared to men.

Another great movement recognized is Transcendentalism. This movement existed from around the year 1835 to the year 1850. This movement was rather a resentful form of action as it was greatly shown in the New England areas of the United States. It was resentful from the fact that ordinary American citizens felt mistreated by the elite population of the United States (Paulman 138). Transcendentalism was some form of protest made by the people against the manner in which the more influential American citizens carried the rest of the population. Despite the fact that this movement was created as a form of revolt against the mistreatment of human beings, it was rather calm. This noticed from the rubrics by which this movement stood which were to uphold the goodness of man. It is thus from this that the artists of the time expressed their thoughts in a humble nature believing that once the authorities had read their works of art, they goodness character would portray itself. Some of the most recognized artists from this period were Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson with their works such as Herald of Freedom and Self-Reliance respectively. In the latter, Ralph brings out the concept of transcendentalism by explaining the importance of self-worthiness and world disapproval while Henry in his essay discusses the value of self-realization in an effort to make people resent the elite rulers more.

Edgar Allan Pore in Tales of Grotesque and Arabesque describes the feelings of people and the manner through which people were secretive of their inner feelings and thus not revealing their full potential. This was a rather interesting fact due to the reason that people at that time were filled with self-doubt and the concept of romanticism is one that showed or rather helped them express their feelings in a better manner.

Ralph Emerson’s views were completely different despite him also being of the American Renaissance period. His views were completely opposed given the fact that he majorly focused on the manner in which he focused on his issues. Most of the issues dealt with involved the struggle in which the people in England needed to put up in an effort to overcome all the forces that the Americans were putting on their lives. This was influential also as it assisted in the liberation of the citizens offering them better-living conditions (Ralph 332).

Comparing the themes found in Ralph’s stories and essays such as Self Reliance, Edgar’s Tales of Grotesque and Arabesque had the theme of love as one of the major themes. The manner in which the writers encouraged the people suffering to fully open up to their feeling having no fear despite the tough situations that they were going through was clear to elaborate this. As compared to stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne such as Wakefield, themes such as poverty and resilience were not portrayed. Nathaniel had stories that explored the various themes such as the struggle that people went through while still bringing out the theme of pain and persistence (Jonda 257).

In addition to stories such as Wakefield, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of the stories that clearly articulate the issue of oppression during the time of colonization. The stories bring out the themes of pain and suffering through various literary devices such as comparing the work that people did to that of donkeys from the manner in which it was tiring. It also constantly uses repetition as one of the major devices from the manner in which the book repeats various terms and this comes as a form of emphasis on the issues.

The various literary periods mentioned above had their own significant characteristics and it was important to recognize them uniquely. This is from the fact that the world continued changing and with the changes so did the needs and societal characteristics. With this, the understanding of literature is got better.


Work Cited
Jonda, McNair. “Classic American Literature.” Journal of Negro Education 80. 2 (2011): 163- 295. Print.
Paulman, Maxwell. Transcendentalism. New York: McGraw Hill Publishers. 2008. Print.
Ralph, Bauer. “Early American Literature and American Literary History.” Early American Literature 45. 2 (2010): 267-333. Print.
Thomson, Derrick. Romanticism. New York: Cengage Learning. 2009. Print.