American Lit 5th Hour
October 25 2018
Some American values are Community, Friendships, Patriotism, Bravery and Romantics. By having these values imbued in American texts these values have become intertwined with what it means to be American.These are American values because they are seen in many American texts such as Arundel. Written by Robert Kenneth, Arundel, is the story of Steven Nason; a young American boy whisked away to fight the British in the revolutionary war. Steven faces many hardships on his journey but eventually he and the American army corner the British at Yorktown and force a surrender.
One of these values that I talked about was community. This is seen in Arundel when Steven describes his hometown. He talks about the people of the town as a tight knit community that help each other out and each play a role in each others lives. Another book that also displays the value of community is The Book Thief. In this book a girl lives in a close knit Jewish community and learns to read by stealing books in Nazi Germany. So how can we relate this to modern day debates going on in this country. One you can apply this value to is the issue of immigration. Many people in this country have decided they don’t want immigrants in their communities because they’re scared the immigrants will steal their jobs or live off of their taxes. However if you look at this problem through the lens of community you realize that immigrants are part of our community and we should not only give them jobs but also help them out if they need it. After all, communities help each other out in times of need.
Another Value mentioned in Arundel was Friendship. The main character Steven has many friends and is even friends with the Indians, a group most of the regular colonists despise. These friendships save him and his friends later in his journey when they are stranded without food. A text that similarly talks about the value of friendship is Charlotte’s Web. In Charlotte’s Web Wilbur’s friendship with Charlotte saves his life and Charlotte’s children get a place to live for generations to come. One modern American issue this relates to is the increasing gap in partisan politics. One reason that this gap has grown so much is each side has started attacking each other personally which causes resentment. This resentment leads to politicians forgetting that they are all working towards the same goal of making America a better place to live. If someone could simply kindle friendships between the politicians it could potentially bring the parties closer together.
Another value talked about in Arundel is patriotism. One example of this in Arundel is the beginning of the trip to Quebec the sailors start singing a song with the lines “Yo ho ho, off to war we go, to fight the french and save our great nation” This is a prime example of patriotism because it’s the men singing about the fact that they are fighting for their nation which is a prime example of patriotism. Patriotism is also seen in the poem The star spangled banner. In this poem when they talk about the “The rockets red glares” they are talking about the cannon firing during the fight for the freedom of the country. Both of these show patriotism because they both talk about people fighting for their country which is the most patriotic thing I can think of. They also show people are willing to make personal sacrifices for the good of their country. A modern American debate you can apply this to is the opioid epidemic. If we make seem like not taking drugs will make our country a better place we might see a decrease in drug use.
Another recurring value in Arundel Is bravery. The scene that best displays this is when Steven and the American troops fight the British at Lexington. This showed immense bravery because the troops here where ill prepared and facing the most fearsome army in the world. Similarly, in The things they carried, a book about Kat Riley in Vietnam, Kat displays bravery when going back to rescue an injured friend. This shows bravery because Kat risked his life to not only save his friend but also fight in the war to serve his country. This value shows Americans are willing to risk their physical well being to make the world a better place. A modern issue you can apply this to is refugees. These people displayed immense bravery to flee everything they have known to come to this county. Because this country values bravery, these people should be welcomed as Americans.
One last value displayed in this book is romanticism. One example of this is at age 16 Steven gave his first marriage proposal and stayed loyal to the girl he left behind throughout his entire journey only to marry her once he got back. Another example of romanticism is in Romeo and Juliet. This book an Icon of romantics due to romeo and Juliet’s true love for each other. Both books books show people willing to risk their lives to be with their loved ones. A modern debate you can apply this to is racism. Many racists see people of color as inferior which is a huge problem. If we can show them that romance between interracial couples is the same as a romance they may have it might make them see people of color as similar to them.
White, E. B, and Garth Williams. “Charlotte’s Web.” Amazon, Amazon, 9 May 2006,
“The Book Thief.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 14 Nov. 2013
Romeo and Juliet: Entire Play, shakespeare.mit.edu/romeo_juliet/full.html.
“The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.”, 29 Dec. 1998,
“The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Arundel“Kenneth Roberts (Author).” 15 June 2018,Tags: Okemos High School