How are Americans and Europeans portrayed in Man of the People? Admiration? Hatred? Ambivalence? INSTRUCTIONS (use the book “A Man of The People)
How are Americans and Europeans portrayed in Man of the People? Admiration?
INSTRUCTIONS (use the book “A Man of The People)
All quotes, paraphrases and facts that are not common knowledge must be cited with a footnote. You may either use footnotes following Chicago Notes/Bibliography format or use parenthetical references with a list of works cited following either APA or MLA format. The purpose of this paper is to analyze assigned readings. A good paper has a thesis that responds to the prompt and is supported by specific examples. Good papers demonstrate serious engagement with Achebe’s novel. Papers are organized into paragraphs. In a short paper like this, you need to make few strong points and support them with examples.
Formatting: The paper must be double spaced in a readable 12 point font. You must have a title that sums up the paper (NOT “Paper 1” or “Man of the People.”) Make sure your name is on it and you have page numbers. There is no need for a title page.
Henry James was the first novelist to write on the theme of the American versus the European with any degree of success. Almost all of his major novels may be approached as a study of the social theme of the American in Europe, in which James contrasts the active life of the American with the mannered life of the European aristocracy or he contrasts the free open nature of the American with the more formalized and stiff rules found in Europe. Embodied in this contrast is the moral theme in which the innocence of the American is contrasted with the knowledge and experience (and evil) of the European. Daisy Miller is one of James’ earliest works involving this theme.
All the comments presented here are not found in this work, but for the sake of James’ entire theory, it is useful to see how he took some of the basic aspects found in Daisy Miller and used them consistently throughout his fiction.
In its most general terms, that is, in terms that will apply to almost any Jamesian novel, the contrasts as seen as follows:
innocence vs. knowledge or experience
utility vs. form and ceremony
spontaneity vs. ritual
nature vs. art
natural vs. artificial
honesty vs. evil
The above list could be extended to include other virtues or qualities, but this list, or even half this list, will suffice to demonstrate James’ theme or idea in the use of this American-European contrast.
The reader should also remember that James uses these ideas with a great deal of flexibility. It does not always hold that every European will have exactly these qualities or that every American will. Indeed, some of the more admirable characters are Europeans who possess many of these qualities and in turn lack others. Because a European might possess urbanity and knowledge and experience does not necessarily mean that he is artificial and evil.
And quite the contrary, many Americans come with natural spontaneity and are not necessarily honest and admirable.
In Daisy Miller, James is more concerned with the difference in behavior than he is with the specific person. But generally, the character that represents the American is, of course, Daisy Miller herself.
The representative of the European attitude in the worst sense of the word is Mrs. Costello, and to a lesser degree Mrs. Walker and Winterborne. Of course, all of these “Europeans” were actually born in America, but they have lived their entire lives in Europe and have adopted the European mode of viewing life.