symbols and imagery
Pioneers! O Pioneers displays a lot of symbols and imagery in its phrases by author Walt Whitman. He refers to Pioneering
to a battle; which enables conquering new lands, setting up designated territories based on superiority and strength of the pioneers that gets placed into this battle such as chopping down the forests, digging mines, and many more tasks that they are responsible for. The strength symbol is also shown through the lines when Whitman states the Pioneers as being a sort of army, and a unity that work together which includes the imagery of their love and friendship for one another. This is one observation that I made when listening to and reading this poem; they unity of the Pioneers is the center of the poem to which the author is mainly focusing on.
I think this love is what makes these Pioneers so unique and composed of such strength. In this poem it is stated that the movement of Americans to the West is another method of accomplishing a divine, meaningful purpose, or the “American Dream.” He also mentions Daughters and wives as staying united and never having them be divided; this shows that they did not like the separation of families and wanted the security of their daughters and wives. Whitman also makes poetic inferences about the American flag, urging that it be raised and waved high; he makes a reference to the previous and upcoming generations as being ghosts, urging them to take after these footsteps and becoming Pioneers as well. He compares Pioneering to including hard work, risks and sacrifices which is what Emerson also includes in his teachings.
The American Nightmare by Lauren Sandler is another take on the observations and opinions of the American Dream. It emphasizes the understanding of the American Dream from the viewpoints of the American society and its people. Lauren explains the American Dream from a middle class individuals point as being a social profile focusing on married couples, owning a home, cars, and having children. According to the teachings of Lauren Sandler, she believes the level of happiness in the American Dream is just an illusion; she states that materialistic items cannot bring happiness and long lasting pleasure to one’s life and sacrifices must be made in order to achieve a certain stage and obtain happiness. She refers to the American Dream as just being a dream still that needs to be sorted out and interpreted correctly; Sandler provides examples of how the American Dream is not met just by purchasing expensive homes and having expensive cars but does provide alternatives or recommendations to what is then the correct method to attain the American Dream. She also displays through her words that child-centric families in America are dysfunctional establishments that are placing leadership into the hands of the children; as parents are spending more time with their children at home rather than being committed to their duties. Her primary focus of population she is directing at are the Urban areas of America; and she fails to accommodate or include the rest of the nation. She mentions how Americans want to move from congested urban areas to more open suburban settlements to raise their families. Her discussion of the failure of the American Dream could have taken a turn if she provided suggestions or convincing viewpoints of how to achieve a better version of the American Dream; she fails to define the ideal situation of happiness in order to live the American Dream which makes her arguments a little less believable. According to me, I can see her statements as being correct to a certain level, however, for those who want to have children, spend time with them and live in a safe community and neighborhood, I do not think they are wrong either. Everyone holds their own unique version of the American Dream and works themselves in order to attain that dream, since everyone is in a difference point in their own life, it is not necessary that we all think alike, if some families want to own an expensive lifestyle for their children and that brings them happiness, I see nothing wrong with that! TO me, that is something that is part of my own American Dream, providing safety and happiness for my family, however those who are not married or have no children like Sandler, may think differently and that is still okay, because everyone’s situation is different.
Student 2：Leonard Posa
I really liked this weeks reading. Until this moment we were talking mostly about men and their role in pursuing the American Dream, and I feel that we kind of forgot about the women. They have dreams to, and big ones!
I really liked the poem we had to listen to. I could easily make a connection between the poem and Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!
They both express the same ideas and opinions about the pioneer spirit and the role of the pioneer. Whitman says that pioneers must be ready do to the things other are afraid of and that they motivate other to do the same. I feel like pioneers aren’t only men. Pioneers are women, children and men. We all have dreams, and we all work hard to achieve them.
O Pioneers! Is a really unique book. We read about the American Dream but from a woman’s perspective, which is really different from what we did so far. I was really impressed by the novel’s heroine Alexandra. She is such a complex character. She has such a big dream and I feel like the land she owns actually is her American Dream. Her land to her means freedom, achievement and success – it makes her who she is. Alexandra is a pioneer and she has all of the attributes of one. We can easily see how her heart belongs to the land, to Nebraska and to America. And that’s exactly what she realizes by the end of the book.
I think Alexandra is a self-reliant person. She relies on herself, works a lot and I kind of feel like she is the “man” in the house. Her father believed in her so much, even though she had brothers. He trusted her judgment and he trusted her with the land after his death. He told her that he knows that she is going to keep it all together. Alexandra had the strength of will , as her father puts it. Her father relied on her a lot, so I can easily say that Alexandra relied on herself too. Her relationship with her brothers is really interesting for me. She is surrounded by boys, men and everyone would think that she is the girl who does house work, cleans and cooks and that the boys have a bigger role than her in the family. But actually I feel like in this family she is the “boss”. She does all the hard work and she keeps the family together after her fathers death. This proves that women can be as hard working as men too. Women have dreams to and they work hard to achieve them. I somehow feel like Ragged Dick is the male version of Alexandra. True, they had the completely different lives, but their personality seems the same to me. They are both hard working and they both want to succeed.