When it comes to the concept of America, most people think of the land of freedom, honesty, and opportunity. But that’s not really true for everyone. According to the article titled “Denial is the Heartbeat of America”, the country of the United States will always reject what has happened. In other words, Americans will always ignore the bad things that have happened and are still happening to this day, and they will continue to live their lives normally. We know this when he says, “At every point in the history of American tyranny, the honest recorders heard the sounds of denial. Today is no different.” In this quote, the author talks about how no matter what decade we are in, the things of the past will be denied and people of the U.S. will keep moving forward. And how this keeps the U.S. from solving its problems. 

Likewise, in the poem “Let America Be America Again” the author Langston Hughes talks about the U.S. and its imperfection. “There’s never been equality for me, Nor freedom in this homeland of the free.” What this quote is trying to say is that even though there might be freedom for white Americans, the people of color have never experienced any freedom in the United States even though it’s supposed to be the land of the free. According to both of these sources, there have always been imperfections in the U.S. I say this because the poem “Let America Be America Again” was written in the 1930’s. And it talked about what was wrong with the U.S. at those times. And the article “Denial is the Heartbeat of America” talks about those same problems that the poem talked about even though the article was written about 85 years later.

Similar to the sources I have mentioned, in a article named “My Life As An Undocumented Immigirant”, the author Jose Antonio Vargas, talks about his life in America and the things that he had to go through as an undocumented immigirant. Since he was undocumented, he couldn’t do many of the things a normal citizen would be able to to do. For example, he couldn’t get his license or even get a job. But despite all that, he said, ”I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with citizenship. I felt I could earn it.” This quote tells us that even though he was undocumented, he was looking forward to one day getting his citizenship by working hard. If we compare this source with “Let America Be America Again”, we can see that they are similar in a way. The poem talked about how even though America is known as the land of opportunity, many immigrants/people of color are not gifted to be able to use these opportunities. Jose Antonio can be a really good example for that. 

In my opinion, America is a place that has numerous types of flaws. But that doesn’t mean that these flaws and imperfections are not fixable. I agree with most of the things the sources above are trying to say. Life in America for people of color is very difficult and it can be very harsh  and unfair. But the people who live in America can change this by working together. If everyone came to an understanding, then the problems that exist in the U.S. will be gone pretty quickly.  American literature can be defined as literature that includes a lot of dishonesty and selfishness. For example, In the book “The Great Gatsby”, there is a quote that says, “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” Here, this quote is targeting a white male who was born in the United States. And when he was a child, his dad told him this. This tells us that many people in the United States are aware of the issues that exist in the country, but they choose to ignore it. I feel like American Literature should be taught in schools because kids need to know the history of the United States and they need to know where they come from. 

Sources:

Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes – Poems | poets.org

Denial Is the Heartbeat of America

My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

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