The Essence of the Letter:
The new world is the land of new beginnings. It is an entirely different world from that of Europe, and completely detached from its social, political, and economic problems. It is a haven where people live in harmony and have equal chances to make their fortunes. These people have a sense of identity and unity. They regard themselves only as Americans despite their different roots.
The Key Idea:
America is a haven detached from the old-world order.
Themes and Ideas:
The over general theme in the text is the exceptionalism that Crevecoeur witnessed in America and nowhere else. America is represented in the text as a haven for the oppressed, the persecuted, and the downtrodden. The racial diversity is never an issue, and people over there live in a harmonic cosmopolitan society. This all comes down to the theme of freedom.
According to Crevecoeur, Americans live in a state of nature. Everyone has their property, and everyone works to pursue their happiness. They are free from the despotic rulers and the chains of the church. This goes under two themes: the self-made man, and the natural rights. Identity is another theme in the text. Crevecoeur stresses the fact that people in America leave their background behind and regard themselves only as equal Americans.
The author uses accessible language to make his message clear and understandable to the public. He asks a number of rhetorical questions for the purpose of emphasizing his point and stimulating the minds of his audience.
The use of metaphors indicates the author’s desire to establish a tangible and vivid contrast between Europe and America. He also uses short sentences and phrases to deliver a flow of ideas, not to mention the excessive use of colons to signify his elaboration on those ideas.
The Point of View:
The authors point of view is highly subjective. What is mentioned in his letter is drawn from his personal experience. He uses the first person voice “I” to prove that he is a witness, and to establish factuality and credibility to what he says, but this only makes his account questionable and adds to his subjectivity.
The Contrast Between 18th Century Europe and America:
Crevecoeur draws a contrast between eighteenth century Europe and America on different aspects. He describes the governments in Europe as being despotic. The law is severe, and the political atmosphere is dominated by the aristocracy. While in America, the government rules by the ascent of the governed. The law is flexible, and people have equal civil rights.
He describes work opportunities in Europe as being meagre, and those who work are underpaid for their labor. In contrast, ample work opportunities are to be found in America, and the workers are fairly rewarded for their labor. This resulted a thriving quality of life unlike that in Europe.
Crevecoeur also refers to the importance of the ethnic background in the European society. a society that is characterized by prejudices and manners. On the opposite side, one’s ethnic background doesn’t matter in the American society. It is a mixture of blood. Religion in Europe is described as being too demanding. People are forced to pay tributes to the church. While in America, the church only demands gratitude, even the tributes are voluntary.
The Agrarian Metaphor and the Mother-child Metaphor:
The agrarian metaphor helps the author to illustrate Europe as a land for the noble to thrive and the poor to wither away, and America as a land of equal chances where everyone can thrive and prosper. The mother- child metaphor helps in conveying the idea that Europe abandoned her people like the mother who abandoned her children, and America is the fostering mother (alma mater) who took them in.
The Melting Pot Meaning:
The melting pot is a metaphor illustrating America as a society in which many different types of people blend together as one, regardless to their race, religion, or culture.
What Crevecoeur Means by “The New Man”:
The new man or the American man is a new race moulded from different races and cultures. Being distanced from the European world, this new man came to possess new thoughts and principles to act upon. His culture, his labours, and his descendants will shape the new world.
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