We discussed Anne Bradstreet yesterday and the argument that there are two main voices that she employs in her writing. I was struck with a similar feeling regarding Crevecoeur. On page 314 he seems to turn in his praise, “He who wish to see America in its true proper light, and have a true idea of its feeble beginnings and barbarous rudiments, must visit our extended line of frontiers where the last settlers dwell.” He wrote of America as a country with “so many charms” that it “presents to Europeans so many temptations to remain in it,” and that a European “involuntarily loves a country where everything is so lovely” (319). The use of words like “charms,” “temptations”, and “involuntarily” caused me to question Crevecoeur’s real goal in writing about his experience of “America.” On the one hand, he seems to see the merit and good intentions of the idea of America, but I am not convinced that he agreed with what America truly was (to him), or perhaps what it was morphing into. Despite his (in my opinion) criticisms, he too was an American farmer, and his thoughts on what America represents, “We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained, because each person works for himself,” do not seem limited to his time only (311). However, even in that sentence I wonder whether he agrees with “unrestrained” industry (unrestrained freedom?)?
What about his ideas of “America” still ring true today? Does he have an opinion of what a “proper” America should be? Does he give any warnings in this particular essay?