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The Quest for Identity in American Literature The quest for identity depends a lot on the emotional cultural and social stability of an individual Stability is the ultimate stage of this quest this is why I believe there is a strong interdependence between the two One cannot speak of identity without referring to emotional social and cultural stability Apart from these three dimensions of the human being another important aspect of the American identity is the feminine identity In order to deal with these four aspects I will refer to several American short stories as it follows 1 The quest for emotional stability A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway Death of a Traveling Salesman by Eudora Welty 2 The quest for social stability Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville Barn Burning by William Faulkner That Evening Sun by William Faulkner 3 The quest for cultural stability The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky by Stephen Crane Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving 4 The quest for feminine identity Old Mortality by Katherine Anne Porter 1 The quest for emotional stability A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway Death of a Traveling Salesman by Eudora Welty A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett is a story of a girl who attained emotional stability by remaining true to her own values and by refusing to yield to the masculine dominance in a patriarchal world It is through silence that she remains outside history and thus maintains her place in nature as opposed to the hunter whose world is history governed by science language and knowledge As she accompanies the hunter through the woods in search of the white heron she feels the need to be loved and decides she should help him Sylvia still watched the young man with loving admiration She had never seen anybody so charming
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