What Defines American Literature?

What Defines American Literature?

Huckleberry Finn could only be written in America. Why could it have not been created in any other part of the world?
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What is the truth behind American literature? What makes a piece American?

American literature, as a whole, depicts the diverse and revolutionary forthcoming of a nation to what it is today. The history of America is gifted with making itself from nothing, building on new and radical expectations, and rivaling the rest of the world for respect and independence. At one time, this ability to completely remake a country was viewed as a burden and the constant hardship and suffering it took to create this country is everything American literature is now known for across the globe. The ruthlessness and raw portrayal of the narratives, poems, and stories constitute all that America is, was, and will be. To define American literature is to recognize how harsh, detached, and insensitive it stands, and that it cannot even be defined fully. American writing consists of physical abuse, a lack of love, and a morbid character, all across the board from the Native Americans to the colonists, revolutionaries, explorers, to the Civil War, the American Renaissance, and beyond. Throughout American literature, each writer, poet, and author, not only sets a higher standard for the next, but adds to the mosaic it has originated and exemplifies a distinctly unsympathetic and unforgiving theme.

A cruelness and inhumane perspective was not only lived, but vividly illustrated in early writings of the 15th century and continuing up until the 19th century. Arrival at the New World is not nearly as immaculate and ideal as history constructs it to be. It is only the beginning of the physical destruction and wipe out of the Native American populations. The most lethal weapon to the Hispaniola’s people is the disease epidemics they were not equipped to fight against. Early American writers, like Thomas Hariot, fortified ignorance for the decimation of the Native populations. He believes they are dying off because of “invisible bullets." It was in God’s will for the Natives to be slaughtered. He is unfeeling towards them and his obliviousness to the reality of what is happening is sickening.

The insensibility to another human life is genuine to the start and continuum of American literature. Michael De Cuneo, who referred to the Native American people as “Cannibals," casually describes the rape of a woman, using bondage and stating it “seemed she had studied at a school for whores." The vivid detail and nonchalant attitude at which he relives the scene is enough to appall. The physical abuse illustrated in American literature does not end there and this unloving nature and numbness America puts up is a powerful force to try to reckon with. There is no need for love or romantic interest in American literature.

Two centuries later, the same unrefined depictions of human objectification continue. In Letters From An American Farmer, Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur comes across an African American slave in the woods. He “[recollects] the bird has picked out his eyes, his cheek bones were bare, hollows sockets…Humanity herself would have recoiled back with horror." This is not only American literature, but American history in the making. This is what defines America’s past and its writing. The events that cannot be forgotten, the people that are not talked about, and the topics that are avoided is what America literature is. The literature calls out the lack of love, the aversion, and the loathing for other types of people that was and is still existing today.

There are other writers, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Harriet Jacobs, who write of the struggles of slavery and sexual assault in Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The awareness of how cruel and harsh American literature truly is is seen across time. It is one of the defining aspects of what makes a piece American and understanding that there is no virtuous humanity. Throughout its entirety, there is an absence of tenderness in the writing and a focus on physical brutality without restriction. In these pieces, the revolting actions emphasize the authors' straightforward truth and describes a society that lives in hatred.

American literature occasionally attempts to show love within humanity, but even when it does, the concentration is not romance at all, but perhaps lust and desire. The love is not what is at attention, but instead the author describes a criticizing relationship with self, church, state, or the supernatural.

Nathaniel Hawthorne exhibits an effort at writing a romantic attraction between two people, whether that is in Young Goodman Brown between Brown and Faith, or in Rappaccini’s Daughter between Giovanni and Beatrice. This endeavor of Hawthorne’s does not end successfully in either story. By the end of Rappaccini’s Daughter, Giovanni is insulted by Beatrice who implies, “there was more poison in [Giovanni’s] nature than in her own from the beginning,” and she lived with poison in her veins. Hawthorne is not focusing on their love, but instead on humanity and its lack of love. He is stabbing at corruption instead and focusing on the decay (literally) of humankind, judgment, and naturalism. Even though there was a love triangle, Hawthorne aims at making a point about the power of science and its effects. In American literature, even when love is present, it is not about love and affection at all, but a bigger theme on the unsympathetic and unforgiving ways of humankind as both are seen in this work.

Henry David Thoreau also attributes this idea of love being used as a tool to convey hate. Throughout Walden, Thoreau magnifies nature's beauty, but his purpose behind the writing is to critique society and its lifestyles. His goal is in the fact of “living deliberately,” and “simplifying,” life. He writes a great deal of appreciation for nature, yet is contrasting that with his idea of societal values. He believes he has “several more lives to live,” and was writing to express he had no more time to waste. Even when it appears a writer is passionate about one topic, the reality behind this in American literature is that the devotion is a comparison to the true opinions of the author.

Jonathan Edwards embodies a new side of American literature in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, by expressing his love for God using hate. His scare tactics, like softly voicing that there is “nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God,” worked for him. His piece riveted horror in the sinners as his love for God was captured by his terrorizing words. The effect American writers have in literature is because of their role with depicting one idea, but meaning another. American literature does not know romance, it knows how to employ love and yearning for another to condemn society, people, self, church, or nature and the ruthless theme American literature beholds.

American literature brings forth an unloving, unbending theme. Various writers complement this idea with their morbid and dark pieces. It is not about physical manipulation, but instead mental.

Edgar Allan Poe, unnerving and sinister, shows the world just exactly what humanity is capable of. In The Cask of Amontillado, Poe gives no answers, no reasons, and no motives behind human behavior. After the narrator plastered Fortunato inside a tomb, there is only silence, until the Montresor “thrusts his torch through the remaining aperture…in return only a jingling of the bells." The creepiness and disturbing concepts Poe grasps only perfect American literature's wicked ways. He has no confidence in a goodness of humankind, a principle that can be seen centuries back to the writings of slave and Native accounts. Poe uses this distrust in humanity as an approach to his works, creating for American literature a nonexistent faith in love.

Herman Melville is accounted for using this tactic as well in his pieces. He expresses a lack of humanity in Bartleby, the Scrivener, as Bartleby worked in a “dead letter office at Washington,” and ends the piece with riveting words of “Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!” There is no love in the fact that Melville captures a man so distraught with his past job it sped up his own death. This twisted thought of Melville examines how American literature does not have happy endings. Even if the plot ends well for all characters, there is always a notion behind it as to what is wrong with this world. American literature shows no need for compassion and sympathy between two people.

A recluse poet, Emily Dickinson, applies her own mental states to create intense, riveting poems, consistent with the idea of death. In one of her pieces, she describes a carriage stopping for her, a carriage with herself, Death, and Immortality as its only passengers. Her depictions of life, or a lack thereof, are exceptionally dark and passionate. When she writes about love, she writes about what she lost when her “life closed twice before its close." She explains she lives in suffering and pain even without going to hell. As for American literature, Dickinson adds a powerful part in the theme of life’s hateful ways. Her unyielding devotion to death and consistency with it in her poems makes American literature what it is.

In this morbid way of these writers, the definition of what makes a piece truly American is its idea of experiencing life without an amorous relationship with another. There is no faith in humankind and that is only known to American literature.

America does not care about romantic, loving relationships, as it has a more realistic take focusing on the history of the country, revolutionary ideas, and relationships with self, God, nature, and society. Humanity’s values and morals are deeply analyzed by author and audience. Whether that is done through dark tales, real life abuse, or a contrast that is used to express a theme besides love, it is all a part of American literature. To define American literature to one set of ways is not possible, there is such diversity, that it cannot be defined wholly. There is a certainty, though, to expect from American literature, and that is in its callousness and harsh view of the world. Building up a great country from nothing was more than a challenge, and above that gaining respect and independence in comparison to the rest of mankind. The hardship and suffering America went through to stand as it does today, is seen in American literature's revolutionary ideas, bluntness, and lack of a need for love.

Cover Image Credit: http://missmcsorleysabridgedclassroom.weebly.com/studies-in-american-literature.html

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80 Nicki Minaj Lyrics Perfect For Instagram Captions

"Yo, you seen my last pic, go double-tap that for me."
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Nicki Minaj lets the world know about her amazing Instagram skills in Beyonce's "Flawless," when she raps "Instagram another flawless pic." Do you have a #Flawless Instagram picture but need a clever caption to go with it? The Queen of Rap has plenty of Insta-worthy song lyrics.

*(Some lyrics have been edited to keep this article "PG". Feel free to look up the real Nicki Minaj lyrics if you hate the radio edit.)


When you want to diss a hater:

    1. "You couldn't get a fan if it was hangin' from the ceilin."
    2. "I'm throwing shade like it's sunny."
    3. "I'm in my own lane, you ain't in my category."
    4. "These (girls) couldn’t test me even if their name was Pop Quiz."
    5. "Yo, people will love you and support you when it's beneficial. I'ma forgive, I won't forget, but I'ma dead the issue."
    6. "Not that I don't got good vision, but I don't see competition."
    7. "I’m Angelina, you Jennifer. Come on (girl), you see where Brad at."
    8. "I look like "yes" and you look like "no"."
    9. "But if you're ugly it's a no text zone."
    10. "If you are my rival, then that means you're suicidal."
    11. "Shout out to my haters, Sorry that you couldn't faze me."
    12. "Trash talk to 'em then I put 'em in a Hefty."
    13. "Like I mean I don't even know why you girls bother at this point. Like give up, it's me, I win, you lose."
    14. "All these haters mad because I'm so established."
    15. "Competition? why yes I would love some."

















When you want to tell people how awesome you are:

    16. "If I'm fake I ain't notice, cause my money ain't."
    17. "You can hate me, but why knock my hustle? I'ma be the queen, no matter how they shuffle."
    18. "Let me make this clear, I’m not difficult, I’m just ’bout my business."
    19. "I'm feelin' myself."
    20. "Excuse me honey, but nobody's in my lane."
    21. "Put me on a dollar cause I'm who they trust in."
    22. "I don’t say “Hi”, I say “Keys to the Benz.”"
    23. "I've been hot since flip phones" "Running this game for 5 years. Guess that's why my feet hurt."
    24. "Hotter than a middle eastern climate."
    25. "My money’s so tall that my Barbies gotta climb it."
    26. "No, I'm not lucky, I'm blessed, yes."
    27."I ain't gotta compete with a single soul."
    28. "'X' in the box, cause ain't nobody checking me."
    29."Excuse me, I'm sorry, I'm really such a lady."
    30. "Honestly I gotta stay as fly as I can be."














When you're hanging with your clique:

    31. "Cherish these nights, cherish these people. Life is a movie, but there will never be a sequel."
    32. "I’m with some hood girls lookin’ back at it."
    33. "We dope girls, we flawless. We the poster girls for all this."
    34. "Pretty gang, always keep them (boys) on geek."
    35. "The night is still young, and so are we!"
    36. "If you ain’t on the team, you playin’ for team D, ’Cause we A-listers, we paid sisters."
    37. "Pretty (girls) only could get in my posse."
    38. "Cause we the mean girls, y-yes we so fetch."
    39. "We fresh to death, down to the shoes."
    40. "Ain't at no wedding but all my girls cake tops."
    41. "Got a whole bunch of pretty gang in my clique."
    42. "Clap for the heavyweight champ, me, But I couldn't do it all alone, WE."
    43. "Put your drinks up, It's a celebration every time we link up."
    44. "I'm with some flawless (girls) because they be mobbin' pretty."


















When you're hanging with your significant other:

    45. "He tryna kick it like a ninja."
    46. "He could tell that I was wifey material."
    47. "Ayo, I just wanna be your first go to."
    48. "You got spark, you, you got spunk. You, you got something all the girls want."
    49. Find me in the dark, I'll be in the stars, Find me in your heart, I'm in need of your love."
    50. "They holler at me, but it's you, you."
    51. "I'm not living right, I’m not living if you’re not by my side."
    52. "I just wanna be somebody that can add to, your wife, be a friend, be a teacher and a fan, too."
    53. "I just wanna be your favorite."
    54. "He was the realest, I was the baddest, we was the illest."
    55. "I know you can save me and make me feel alive."
    56. "Yes I'll be your girl, forever your lady, You ain't ever gotta worry, I'm down for you baby."
    57. "Baby you my everything, You all I ever wanted."

















When you're single and loving it:

    58. "You could be the king, but watch the queen conquer!"
    59. "Thats why I'm crowned queen, and I ain't looking for the prom king."
    60. "I like independent, like July 4th."
    61. "I ain't never need a man, to take care of me."
    62. "He be like, "Yo, you so legendary", But he can tell just by my face he ain't getting any."
    63. "I am not Jasmine, I am Aladdin."
    64. "I don't even brake when I'm backing up, I'll swerve on a (boy) if he acting up."
    65. "So many boys in here where do I begin?"











When you're just living life:

    66. "I never worry, life is a journey. I just wanna enjoy the ride."
    67. "Tonight is the night that I'ma get twisted."
    68. "I’mma keep it movin', be classy and graceful."
    69. "So make sure the stars is what you aim for, make mistakes though."
    70. "And we gon' hangover the next day. But we will remember this day."
    71. "My only motto in my life is don't lose."
    72. "Take me, or leave me, I'll never be perfect. Believe me, I'm worth it."
    73. "I believe that life is a prize, but to live doesn't mean you're alive."
    74. "I wish that I could have this moment for life."
    75. "If I scream, if I cry, It's only 'cause I feel alive."
    76. "I can't believe it, it's so amazing. This club is heating, this party's blazing.""
    77. "It's so amazing, I figured out this world is ours for the taking."
    78. "I am not a girl that can ever be defined."
    79. "I got next, I'm gonna shine."
    80. "This is my moment I just feel so alive."















Cover Image Credit: Nicki Minaj

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20 Not-So-Typical Things To Pack For Freshman Year

You won't find these on your average college packing list.

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With only two weeks left to summer vacation, freshman all over will be doing last minute dorm shopping, doctors appointments, and of course, packing. While everyone may know of the basic college dorm essentials, like hangers and bedding, there are many not-so-typical essentials that every college student will need at one point or another during their freshman year. Here is a list of some things to think about packing before zipping up the final suitcase for move-in!

1. Frat shoes

For most freshmen, this is a pair of white converse that will definitely be dirty and destroyed by the end of the year. Word of advice: don't wear any shoes you actually care about to a frat... it never ends well.

2. Fans

Multiple fans are a must if you're living in a dorm with no AC. Invest now before it's too late and you're left waking up in a puddle of your own sweat. Gross, yes, but it will happen.

3. Air freshener

Nothing is worse than a smelly room, so stock up on little air fresheners to put in your room or cans of Febreze. Both get the job done and leave you with a fresh-smelling room, even during the hot summer days.

4. Phone Chargers

It's always helpful to have multiple phone chargers at school; one for your bedroom, one to keep in your backpack, and one extra in case one breaks or someone needs to borrow one. You can get them super cheap on Amazon, and I recommend one with a long cord so it can reach up to your lofted bed.

5. Emergen-C

It's inevitable that you will get sick at some point during your freshman year, but you can try to prevent this by stocking up on Emergen-C or any other vitamin C supplement. Take it if your roommate comes down with a cold or if you're going through sorority recruitment!

6. Dayquil/Nyquil

Again, it's inevitable so might as well make it as bearable as possible. Dayquil was such a game changer when I got sick freshman year and made it easier to go to class and be productive during the day while under the weather.

7. Rain Boots

Rain or snow, don't go! Just kidding, but rain boots definitely make walking to class in the rain a little easier, since staying in wet shoes all day isn't exactly pleasant.

8. Reusable water bottle

Save money and help the environment by using reusable water bottles. You can find cute Swell bottles, Hydro Flasks, or a college Camelback to always keep in your backpack.

9. Headphones

I never go anywhere without headphones and always have a pair in my backpack. These are a must when trying to focus at the library, working out at the gym, walking to class, or for watching Netflix late at night when your roommate is already asleep.

10. Booties

For those nights when you want to look a little dressier than normal, ditch the converse and wear plain black booties. They go with practically everything and amp up your look a bit.

11. Nike Shorts and Leggings

Let's be real. You aren't wearing jeans to class and you can never have too many pairs of leggings. Save some closet space by keeping most of your nice clothes home because realistically, you're wearing shorts and an over-sized t-shirt to class every day.

12. Dresses

Bring a nicer dress or two to have in case you get asked to a date function. Nothing is worse than having nothing to wear the day of the event so pack one or two along with a nice pair of heels or wedges.

13. Hawaiian shirt

There will come a time when you find yourself needing a Hawaiian shirt, camo, and '70s attire for themed parties. If you have any clothes that can fit into a theme or a decade, you might as well bring them because there will probably be a party for it.

14. Ears

Yes, that's right... ears. Mouse, cat, devil, you name it. Ears are essential for a last minute Halloween costume, so pack any that you have as well as old costumes to avoid spending money for each night of Halloweekend.

15. Good pair of sunglasses

Ray-Bans or Quay are my personal favorites, but definitely bring at least one good pair of sunglasses for walking to and from class or whenever outside.

16. Mini Steamer

Odds are you aren't folding your clothes right out of the drier or you're just stuffing them in a drawer. This means you are bound to get wrinkles in your clothes, so a steamer is the solution. The mini ones don't take up much space and are way easier to use than an iron.

17. Planner

At least try to stay on top of everything throughout the semester by using a planner to write things down. If you don't want to carry one around, you can write things down in your calendar or on stickies on your laptop.

18. Band-Aids

Never hurts to have some Band-Aids lying around, as well as some sort of makeshift First-Aid kit. Someone will always be asking for a bandage or Neosporin in your hall group chat, but you don't need to be that person.

19. Disinfecting Wipes

Dorm rooms can get messy quickly, but don't let them get dirty. Wipe down your room to get rid of dust and germs, especially when you or your roommate are sick. These also come in handy when cleaning shoes after a party or a tailgate.

20. Photos

Decorate your room with photos of family and friends from home. This helps especially if/when you're homesick and reminds you to stay in touch with them! I hung photos of some of my favorite memories from before college on the wall next to my bed, which always made me smile and remember good times from home!

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