“The American Romantic Period was accented by a nationalistic spirit. Authors reflected this one way by choosing American settings. What American setting (national park, city monument, etc.) is especially favored by you? Explain. ”
It’s specific and nonexistent. I suspect many of the romantic authors settings were the same: created to evoke a sense of (fill in the blank) . Since they were romantics, they probably would have filled in the blank with something such as “the wonderment and beauty of mankind.” They warped reality as they saw fit.
This said, my setting (specific, nonexistent) : It’s the last scene from The Planet of the Apes ; where you see the Statue of Liberty’s dirty and debilitated torch rising out of the misbegotten American setting of the future.
It immediately evokes a sense of horror. For a second or two - but then, you have to wonder why you’re horrified.
Because apes rule the planet? What’s wrong with that?
Certainly apes would do no worse a job than humans.
Are you horrified, instead, because it is not what you imagined the future to be like? It’s not the fairy tale wonderland “The Jetsons” told us the future would be like. Saturday morning cartoons have lied to us. At the same time, it’s not necessarily wrong on any sort of moral or ethical plane: humans have no contract right to the planet, and surely a case could be made that their abuse of it shows that they don’t deserve it.
Your owns sense of horror is elevated by this benign vision of the future simply for that reason: it’s not something you want, but you can’t say that you don’t deserve it.
I like this American setting: It causes you to think so much more than some happy happy setting. It gets under your skin, and yet it doesn’t exist.
I would like William Cullen Bryant so much more if he had written an epic poem about The Planet of the Apes rather than Thanatopsis or To a Waterfowl.
But he didn’t. Nor did any of the other. I have nothing against someone writing about the beauty and wonderment of nature, mankind, America - whatever. Just so long as it’s done well. I don’t feel that any of the romantics we’ve read in class thus far have done that.
Why? They didn’t create an American setting, they created an American myth. This is all self evident from this essay’s prompt: It says that they were under the influence of nationalism, which is surely worse than any psychedelic drug, and surely less interesting in the typed word. Writing under nationalism means that you’re not writing the truth, and the fiction that you are writing is not beautiful, it’s tainted. The fact that romantics, people who are supposed be in love with nature and the human spirit makes it sickening, pathetic. A nation is not based upon such loves. A nations does not walk in rhythm, or talk in rhyme. Any romantic claiming to be a nationalist is a oxymoron.
The romantics didn’t write about talking apes either, and you can never have too many talking apes.
That’s why you also have Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Battle for Planet of the Apes, Conquest of Planet of the Apes, and Escape from the Planet of the Apes.