one for all!

American Literature

Kit Schleifer

Why would none of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales make it into the American Canon? Recently, in class, we discussed reasons for this, and among those was that the main character of these stories isn’t in line with F.O. Matthiessen’s political ideals. Matthiessen was a devout left-wing socialist who chose things like Whitman’s poems and Melville and Hawthorne’s novels. The protagonist for The Deerslayer is a man who symbolizes what it means to be a rugged, independent human. If you pay attention to what Socialists of America say nowadays, then you would know that independence is scary.

Natty Bumppo lives on his own without the help of the government. There is nothing Bumppo relies on the government for, and that is terrifying because that means they can’t control him either. The individual lifestyle and the individual choice are scary to a government that wants everyone to conform. Matthiessen can’t just sit here and allow a novel with a different ideology to be read by all these silly Americans. It was up to him to filter out all the dirty, evil writings about what it meant to use your own hands to provide for yourself. Francis Otto Matthiessen: educator, scholar, and literary critic? No, he was a hero.

Socialism is the safest and best way to get to the future. If I had a dollar for every time I wished there was more socialism, then I guess the government would take all of it. I’d be happy to supply my government with all I’ve ever worked for because aren’t we all just working towards equal poverty levels?

For a long time now, I’ve also been trying to stay vegan. I go to the store and the first thing my disgusting brain does is think of all the healthy things I need to buy. I’m sick and tired of letting myself stay so painfully accountable. If only the government handed out rations of cardboard gruel, (not the milk kind) then I could live the perfect healthy lifestyle. What’s this? Special ingredient of the week is shoelaces! I wondered why Mr. Government wanted us to hand ours in. What a kind government.

Two-hundred words left, and I’ve done all this writing by myself. It hurts, and I’m scared. I thought we were all going to work on this together, but everyone else has decided to leave it to me. The job must be done. I have no choice to leave it as well, for if I do, the government won’t feed any of us. My coworkers will blame me, so I might as well complete the whole task myself. The quality isn’t as good when I do it on my own, but at least I have Matthiessen’s Canon to comfort me afterwards. I just love the way the community in Hawthorne’s book bands together to dehumanize men and women.

On second thought. I’m sure someone else wrote at least seven-hundred words, so if I just take the two papers and round them together then we’ll both have done our job perfectly! That’s a success in the eyes of the government. I’m off to join the ration lines, catch you later. 🙂

One thought on “one for all!

  • This was a creative post based off of our conversation in class. I appreciate that your posts are entertaining to read and definitely not dry. I like that you take a big concept like socialism and make it approachable for the reader. You do a good job of explaining your position and view, but at the same time keeping the post lighthearted. The ending is the best part – I’m sure our class average for word count is about where it should be.

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