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A Unique American Voice

             As America entered into a generation of native-born Americans, a call for an identity that was exclusively American began to emerge. Americans yearned for a uniquely American expression of themselves through their literature. The self-made man became an icon that was distinctively representative of the American ideal. Here grew a nation that extolled the characteristics of individual independence among its people. A country besieged with issues of social reform, its forerunner being slavery. Although these ideas were as old as mankind, they became issues that were intrinsically commensurate with American literature's individuality. The universal themes of individualism, self-reliance, and slavery became the building blocks responsible for the creation of a uniquely American literary voice.
             A cry for a national literature rang throughout the country. Margaret Fuller was quoted as saying that,It does not follow because many books are written by persons born in America that there exists an American literature?Before such can exist, an original idea must animate this nation and fresh currents of life must animate this nation and fresh currents of life must call into life fresh thoughts along its shores (463).? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow followed this thought in his story Kavanagh: A Tale (1849),We want a national literature commensurate with our mountains and rivers?We want a national literature altogether shaggy and unshorn, that shall shake the earth, like a herd of buffaloes thundering over the prairies (463).? The call for a national literature that praised individualism had begun. .
             Philip Freneau genuinely portrayed the American individual in his poetry and helped to develop themes that were uniquely American.

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