For this final blog post, I thought that I would reflect on the first blog post that I wrote for this subject. The topic was “From what you know about the USA has anything surprised you in the literature that has been introduced to you so far in this unit?”
As I made quite clear in the opening lines of this post, what I knew of America was really only very superficial current affairs, topics that Australian or global news outlets would cover, and any real history was completely out of my sphere. Looking back, I must admit that I now have a far greater knowledge of the USA.
One of the major points that I constantly come back to is the role that Emerson and Thoreau have had on the direction of American literature and the broader American mentality. Having only read works such as “Resistance to Civil Government” and having a weak knowledge of current affairs within America, I was quick to jump to the idea that Thoreau presents the birthplace and broader Libertarianism, perhaps the grave.
With a far greater knowledge of America, having now completed the majority of this unit, I have been able to witness the ways in which Emerson influences Whitman, who in turn influences writers such as Ginsberg, revealing to me a more natural progression and maturity of the very “raw” ideas that these early American writers put to paper.