Date of Award
A dramatic shift in tone in the final letter of J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer reveals Farmer James' conflicting attitudes about an independent America. When the letters are juxtaposed with a Western myth of origin such as Virgil's Aeneid, it becomes clear that Crèvecoeur is forcing his narrating persona to repeat a pattern of civilization – destruction, renewal – on which all of Western civilization is based. The sudden pessimism that erupts in the penultimate "Distresses of a Frontier Man" is symptomatic of James' anxiety about the American Revolution and the resulting disruption in his bucolic way of life.
Barry, Douglas, "Echoes of Laocoön's Warning in Letters from an American Farmer " (2011). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1293.