What Is An American
What Does “American Mean?”
Webster’s Dictionary defines American as or its inhabitants. But is that all America and an American truly is? Is a person American simply because of geography? According to Identities, “America is a confluence of cultures.” Americans are people whose lives depict men and women who are trying to be as successful and robust as possible, this quest is symbolic to citizens of many other countries. This is why America illustrates the Statue of Liberty, a structure that symbolizes freedom throughout the world. America is composed not only of these peoples, but the cultures and the ways of life of these people.
The Statue of Liberty symbolizes a fearless and powerful figure. Steinbeck agrees that Americans are fearless when he writes, “Americans seem to live and breathe and function by paradox.” Americans are fearless and risk taking, spending time and money doing things like skydiving, bungijumping, and other extreme sports. Ignoring in most cases the risk factors involved in such activities, believing that nothing is going to go wrong, that it will occur perfectly and flawlessly. This is a trait that many Americans have the refuse to believe that they are in danger. Most Americans believe that even though the limb they are on is weak, it’s strong enough for their safety needs. Americans daily routines are can also be described as fearless. Case in point for many is the commute to and from work. Most people speed and drive aggressively because they always are in a hurry. Americans have the idea of being perfect drives, for instance, and never making mistakes. The Statue of Liberty can also be described as fearless. The Statue of Liberty is what most people think of when asked what symbolizes America. First, the Statue of Liberty is a massive structure. Second, it is located on the edge of the ocean, able to endure all the elements the weather can throw at it. Third, it has one hand raised in a charismatic fashion, symbolizing fearlessness and powerfullness.
Steinbeck writes “no one can define the American Way of Life or point to any person or group who lives in it, but it is real nevertheless.” The way an American lives their life differs from person to person. Two Americans from the same country, living on the same street, have different ways of practicing their religions, celebrating holidays, and pursuing their culture in general. Americans can act freely, just as the Statue of Liberty depicts freedom to Americans. The Statue of Liberty is a statue of freedom, giving Americans the right to live and practice their culture however they want. There is no such thing as a true American identity. According to the essay Identities, “Identity has always been a difficult question nagging the collective American mind.” No two Americans are the same, no two live in the same manner. One person cannot tell another how to live ones life; one person cannot define him/herself as living the American way of life. This is because the Statue of Liberty symbolizes to people all over that America is the land of the free. Americans are free to make their decisions about what it is to be an American and how one lives. According to Identities “Americans have argued and wondered about who they are.” The Statue of Liberty once was the first thing that immigrants saw when they came to America. However, there is no set of rules or guidelines on it that say what is to be American. No one person can tell another that he/she is not an American because there is no recipe on what attributes a true American has.
In What’s Happening to America, John Steinbeck writes, “we work to hard and may die under the strain.” An American can often be termed a hard worker. The Statue of Liberty is a woman who works to escape the chains of tyranny. An American is also a hard worker, and many look to the Stature as a role model. The Statue is a huge structure that requires the work of many hard working Americans to maintain every year.
In What’s Happening to America? Steinbeck also discusses the government. He writes “We are