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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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4. Spirit of Nationalism   



4. Spirit of Nationalism

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
Activities
- Author
Activities
- Context
Activities
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities


J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur - Author Questions

Back Back to J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur Activities
  1. Comprehension: What kinds of problems does Crèvecoeur's narrator face in Letter XII, "Distresses of a Frontier Man"? How does this letter compare to the narrator's earlier descriptions of his life in America? What has caused the change in his tone?

  2. Context: What answers does Crèvecoeur offer to the question he poses in the title of Letter III, "What Is an American"? What economic, social, religious, and racial qualities characterize an American in Crèvecoeur's view? How does his description of the American character compare to those offered by other authors in Unit 4 (Tyler, Franklin, or Emerson, for example)?

  3. Context: How does Crèvecoeur describe Native Americans in Letters from an American Farmer? How do they fit into his ideas about who should be considered a true American? Why does his narrator contemplate living among the Indians in Letter XII? How does Crèvecoeur's description of Native American life compare to William Apess's account?

  4. Exploration: For a text written before the nineteenth-century abolitionist movement, Letter IX contains an unusually graphic description of the shocking and terrifying abuses committed under the slave system. Why does Crèvecoeur include this description? What are readers supposed to make of his narrator's rather apathetic response to the horrible scene he encounters? How does Crèvecoeur's portrait of slavery compare to later, nineteenth-century accounts of slave abuse (texts by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, or Harriet Beecher Stowe might make good comparisons)?




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