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The United States of America is, probably, the only country, which was the last to discriminate other nations and the first one to abandon this discrimination. However, we have to ask ourselves whether these people, the representatives of other nations, can be a valuable part of the society, which means whether they can form and even lead a society or some part of it. Despite all the facts above, we have to remember that people from other nations feel themselves outsiders in their own country, although it is hard for someone to understand it.
Literature gives us the information about public opinion. Looking through different poems, novels, etc., we feel that authors consider themselves as true Americans, but they still do not want to forget about their native language, traditions, and history; one still feels connection to previous roots. As a result, we start to think that some Americans feel themselves as outsiders in their country. However, it should be mentioned, that they do not regret to have this feeling. Some examples of literature will give us a better understanding.
The poem The Negro Speaks of River written by Langston Hughes discusses the issue of roots, although the author does not use this word, nevertheless, some textual details as veins and rivers give us this understanding. This meaning of roots, presented in his poem, has either familiar or even historical sense. By reading the poem, we understand that it (poem) is much more complicated than it seems at the very beginning.
Basically, rivers and veins are the history of African-Americans. The author combines history of his nation and represents it as if it were veins. He is trying to explain that it (history) is deep, important and twisted as the veins are. The issue of how old and ancient the nation is also exist here, and it can be proved by such world and phrases as early civilizations, the Nile and pyramids.
Moreover, these roots, which are represented by the author, also seem to be like symbols of immortal soul, which has no endings and, in addition, their beginnings are also unclear, ...My soul has growth deep like the rivers.... In this phrase, the author connects himself to the Earth and its history, he shows that his immortal soul is as old as rivers, so as water, so as any type of life on Earth.
Moreover, the speaker is trying to show that the ideas, represented in the poem, are spoken by African-Americans, but not only by himself. We can understand it, having read the line, ...I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.... After that the speaker proofs his thought by speaking about Mississippi and New Orleans places, which are clearly and particularly important for African-American history.
By comparing rivers with root, he shows that his people are as important as rivers for the worlds, just like rivers, they provide life and survival; they are an integral part of the world as African-American are a part of the society. They are as vines, without which persons cannot live at all. Although, the rivers have something like a separate location, but it does not mean that they are not important.
The speaker said, Ive known rivers..., it means that he is deep spiritually in the history of his nation. Knowledge and identity are important for each person as they form us and make us people who we are now.
The next type of literature, which is to be examined, is A Memory by Eudora Welty. This psychological example of the literature is different from The Negro Speaks of River, however, from the first minutes we can find the first common clue: the setting of the plot of both works is in Mississippi, which is, as it was mentioned, quite important for some nations.
Eudora Weltys statement represents the general idea of the Memory, ...where external act and internal voiceless life of the human imagination almost meet and mingle on the mysterious threshold between dream and waking, one reality refusing to admit or confirm the existence of the other, yet both conspiring toward the same end.... The author tried to show two different worlds, which the main character is trying to combine, but fail to do that.
From my point of view, the main idea in Memory is also family and its general meaning. As we know, each family is different, and it is family that forms us as the personalities. The author creates this separation, which we were talking about, based on Memory, ...the greatest confluence of all is that which makes up the human memorythe individual human memory.... Here time, also, is subject to confluence. The memory is a living thing it too is in transit. But during its moments, all that is remembered joins, and lives the old and the young, the past and the present, the living and....
I believe that by showing the family, describing it, the author at the same time was pointing out the cultural difference, as each family is different from the others. Moreover, describing thoughts and feelings of the main character, she also shows us, people, as outsiders: all people are different and all of us have some traditions, visions and ideas; we are outsiders by being ourselves. However, at the same time, these differences in ourselves form such a necessary combination, which gives us an opportunity to form a society.
So, after general examining, we can see that literature plays an important role in teaching society about different nations, which it consists of; now we understand that even people who were born in the United States sometimes do not feel that they are Americans, as they are too connected to the society, which is in their blood. The authors did not want to say that they need some special attitude towards them; they did not try to change the general opinion. The authors tried to explain that traditions, history and cultural awareness are as important as liberty: there is a strong need to know who you are and where you are from, because a person without history is not a person at all.