House of Earth Questions #26 - The American Spirit

by Woody Guthrie

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Re: House of Earth Questions #26 - The American Spirit

Unread postby nebraska » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:09 pm

shadowydog wrote::lol: I was not refering to the concept of self centeredness or arrogance; but the belief that each person is unique and has the right to develop as an individual and be as he himself wants to be. This was fostered by the pioneering experience; but also in the belief in the rights of individuals that led many to immigrate to this country to seek freedom from the imposition of a belief system dictated by others whether political, economic, or religious believe systems.

I think it is a wonderful theory, but it doesn't always work. Think of the religious institutions who are being told they must by law hire people or provide services that go against their own beliefs.

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Re: House of Earth Questions #26 - The American Spirit

Unread postby shadowydog » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:32 pm

nebraska wrote:
shadowydog wrote::lol: I was not refering to the concept of self centeredness or arrogance; but the belief that each person is unique and has the right to develop as an individual and be as he himself wants to be. This was fostered by the pioneering experience; but also in the belief in the rights of individuals that led many to immigrate to this country to seek freedom from the imposition of a belief system dictated by others whether political, economic, or religious believe systems.


I think it is a wonderful theory, but it doesn't always work. Think of the religious institutions who are being told they must by law hire people or provide services that go against their own beliefs.



Sorry I brought it up. :blush: :lol: I wasn't referring to today's world but to the history and cultural forces that formed the American character and culture in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. For instance, many of the first settlers in the English colonies came to escape restrictions on religious practice and freedom that you are bringing up. This is how I interpret the concept of "American Spirit".
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Re: House of Earth Questions #26 - The American Spirit

Unread postby Liz » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:55 am

Again, I want to reiterate that I am asking specifically about America. It is not to say that there is no spirit in other countries in the world.

If we were reading a book about India, I might be asking about that country. But the book is not about India. It is about America.

I am also not saying that our country is perfect. I've certainly had my own issues with it. So did Tike, Ella May and Steinbeck.

I'm just asking about a term that refers to American ideals that have been carried down over time. Whether we've always carried out our ideals or used the power that we have as a nation in the correct way is up for debate. But that is not what this this question is about.
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Re: House of Earth Questions #26 - The American Spirit

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:07 am

Sorry I have sounded negative in this thread. I think you were right when you said how we answer this question depends on how we view the American Spirit!

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Re: House of Earth Questions #26 - The American Spirit

Unread postby Buster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:39 pm

“There is the will of the people to endure and fight against oppression. I think we call this the American spirit.”

How is this American spirit exemplified in House of Earth?


You know, the original question wasn't even about how we define the American spirit. Let's corral this beast and think about how Steinbeck's definition is exemplified.
It's easy to make a case for endurance - Tike and Ella May certainly persisted in the face of many obstacles - but how did they "fight against oppression"?

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Re: House of Earth Questions #26 - The American Spirit

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:56 pm

Buster wrote:
“There is the will of the people to endure and fight against oppression. I think we call this the American spirit.”

How is this American spirit exemplified in House of Earth?


You know, the original question wasn't even about how we define the American spirit. Let's corral this beast and think about how Steinbeck's definition is exemplified.
It's easy to make a case for endurance - Tike and Ella May certainly persisted in the face of many obstacles - but how did they "fight against oppression"?

I'm not sure they did, they talked alot but didn't actually fight against it unless I missed something or can't remember.

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Re: House of Earth Questions #26 - The American Spirit

Unread postby Liz » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:18 am

And maybe it was not exemplified in the book. After all, Steinbeck was referring to Woody's songs, not his book. He didn't know about his book.

However, I don't think the "fight" has to be glaring. It can be subtle and personal. And I think Ella May had a personal way of persisting to fight the oppression by the land owner and the bank.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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