Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The United States of Tom

In today’s world, one may question whether as a whole the country is the “United States of Huck,” or the “United States of Tom.” In George Saunder's analysis of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Saunders concludes the distinct difference between the two ideals.

The first model, the "United States of Huck," is expressed as mainly a system of 'fair play,' and a place where more generosity and kindness are exhibited on others (shown through Huck's character in the novel). This individual model displays what Americans strive to be, but fail to do so because of outer influence. Furthermore, the second model, the "United States of Tom," is defined as a system promoting 'unquestioned privilege' and often is associated with involvement of wealth, appearance, and class status.This specific ideal represents the appearance for the majority of America -- unrelenting towards those who may prefer balanced opportunities for all.

Although the "United States of Huck" may be seen as more favorable towards others, the "United States of Tom" emerges as the dominant ideal in America. For example, in campaigns/elections (especially for the upcoming 2016 presidential election), citizens try to sort through each candidate's image to find if the candidate is truly suitable. Many of the candidates, both on opposite parties, are concerned of the views of the American people, and will do whatever at any cost to guide them into the candidate's favor. The potential leaders of America may then set precedent for a monetary-greed obsessed 'American Character.' These types of authoritative actions are what Americans perceive as legitimate, and adopt them as their own.

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