It must be typewritten, at least 6-8 pages, double spaced, either Times New Roman or Arial 12 point font, with parenthetical or footnote citations where appropriate, and turned in at the time of the exam. Any material taken from the books, whether quotations or paraphrased information, must be cited parenthetically; i.e. (Dickens, 123). Points will be earned for the comprehensiveness of your essay, as well as creativity and critical insight. Proper essay structure, grammar, spelling, and other stylistic aspects will also be taken into account.
Answer the following question:
Compare and contrast the portrayals of American life and culture as presented in Charles Dickens’ American Notes for General Circulation, Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans, and Alexis de Tocqueville’s (and Gustave de Beaumont’s) Letters from America. How do each authors’ European background and attitudes affect what they find interesting in the United States, and how they view American attitudes and institutions? How does the portrayal of African Americans and American Indians, and both cultures’ interactions with Euro-Americans in the United States, compare and contrast for each author? What elements of American life do they find appealing or beneficial, and what elements do they find objectionable or harmful? How and why does each author come away from the United States with different opinions about the country and its strengths and weaknesses? Finally, imagine if a visitor from another country or culture wrote a similar narrative about the United States today. What elements of current American life do you think they would find worthy of discussion and critique, and why? How might such a modern approach compare and contrast with that presented by Dickens, Trollope, Tocqueville, and Beaumont?