This essay looks at The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper and discusses how they illustrate aspects of the American identity.

Essay by ckelsey323University, Bachelor's December 2003

download word file, 15 pages 4.3

Reading American literature provides insight and instruction on American citizenship and can teach us is various ways how to live as Americans. Examining American literature and art are methods that would help an immigrant coming to America understand the complex and many-sided meanings associated with becoming and living as an American. There are several authors and artists that can provide tools for immigrants trying to learn about the American identity, but the two that I will be discussing in this paper are Mark Twain and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

In the history of American fiction, one could argue that no other author looms as large as Samuel L. Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Mark Twain had an amazing understanding of the inner workings of the human mind, both good and bad. A partial list of Twain's work provides proof enough of his importance to American literature. A resume that includes The Innocence Abroad, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is enough to cause any other writer to feel a bit more humble.

In fact, Huckleberry Finn is considered by many to be "The Great American Novel ". Ernest Hemmingway stated: "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn....There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."

Several themes run quietly through the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a book often thought to be simply a carefree children's novel. Though the book may certainly be read on this level, it's also important to recognize Twain's less obvious motives for writing his epic American novel. Twain's introductory warning about the dangers of finding motives, morals, or plots in his novel ironically proves the existence of each. This...