Earlier this year I purchased a guided tour into the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Almost unknowingly, I eye-rolled when I approached the meeting point and found that my group was mostly filled with American tourists, furthermore, New Yorkers!
My dislike was mostly because of America’s recent sensationalised political agenda but maybe also because of the ‘mom’s’ annoying accent. This led to a subsequent disinterest in American culture.
To my surprise, after undertaking this unit, I have learned to appreciate New York (and it’s contributing artists) the same way in which I would have appreciated Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia – for its significant historical culture. I have even booked tickets to travel to NYC next January!
This unit required me to feel, more than respond. The authors I studied based their work on discontentment. They saw boundaries – be it human rights, stereotypical gender roles, collective misconceptions, bogus cultural values, politics, religion, the state… and they crossed these boundaries and splashed around in murky-water, distributing ripples of inquisitive energy to their intellectual literary descendants. I say this because I have developed an admiration for what I can associate as the ‘American Spirit’. By which I mean, the educated American academic who has wiggled and screamed in a loud tantrum, its way out of the straight-jacket of American authority in all its nasty forms.
Personally, I found that I was looking for rawness, a voice of realism and critique, which led me to favour William Faulkner’s writing style the most. I also found a special affiliation with James Baldwin and Allen Ginsberg because of their equal ability to elegantly deliver obscene, aggressive language. (I think we call it ‘sassy’ these days). An equal force of genius energy was Emerson, who reminds us how important it is to take ACTION. To remember that we are all American Scholars. Collectively, the authors asked you to be acutely critical of the world around you.
Collectively, the authors asked you to be acutely critical of the world around you.
To rebel against the foolish consistency, to rid yourself of the Hobgoblin mind and break free from the boundaries which suffocate the learning mind from breathing in the air of creativity.
With thanks to this unit, I understand the value of creativity.