The America's forgotten, living blind throughout the country, pondering the government's next move
Focusing both on Sherwood Anderson’s Puzzled America
and Nathan Asch’s The Road: In Search of America
, I felt as though both authors initially distanced themselves in the opening pages of both texts, but Sherwood uses a collectively rooted voice in reference to the “greater America” while Asch tends to drift from city to city, although conquering more of America’s main cities, rarely finds in-depth access into a specific realm or community. Almost throughout the entire two selections given, Asch remains a relative stranger to those he meets, and his use of promoting his place as a writer with a purpose definitely both saves and hurts him in the long run. Funnily enough, and seemingly intended, all of his access into deeper
worlds derives from the help of “friends” back home, friends with standing or similar roots.
Personally, in comparing the two, I preferred Anderson, whose wink in saying “You, the reader, if you have bought this book of mine, cannot eat it, you cannot convert it into clothing” definitely brought me closer to him in some ways, ideologically, and in more literal ways, fiscally (xi). From that line, he calls the readers all-entitled, which makes us not necessarily guilty, but definitely “part of the problem.” From there, most of what we read had dealt with lost mining towns and tent villages and, rather than finding cynicism for the rest of the country, Anderson happens upon a great amount of hope and blind faith. Throughout the text, he establishes a truly interesting dichotomy between hope in the government and ideological ties, all the while inviting religion into the forefront of the conversation, which never truly makes it. Within the lines, “There is in the average American a profound humbleness…The Fascisti thing is not yet in the minds of the average American. We are still at the heart a democracy,” Anderson opens the door to ideological belief systems that house more than the ideas of capitalism and democracy. Although the miners have worked tirelessly and received less-than-fair profits for their time in the treacherous mines, there exists a patriotism that goes far past the government. Being American, to them, means democracy; it means a second chance. Fascism or Communism might seem appealing, but it’s not for America, not for me.
I embraced the lines of the preacher that read “We’ve had our eyes on the ground. We never have looked up to see where the acorns come from,” and the final, “We are beginning to look up” (13-20). He not only speaks of his and his fellow miners in the collective “we,” formerly noting that “A man’s, a man,” but also speaking upon the slow national hope for Roosevelt to change the economic situation of the Depression. Within these few lines, I noticed a keen awareness to the near future – which he further relates in the end of his passage The Price of Aristocracy
, “He thought there should be something new bigger, taking every one in. ‘I guess it’ll have to be government; but it will have to be a different notion of government from what we have had,’ he said” (35-36). In this broken America, a mediated Capitalism, one with more liberal leaning, pseudo-socialist views harbored a change in direction for multiple Americans across the country. Both Anderson and Asch tend to hint on this transitioning multiple times.
This is my photo.