American Studies Discussion 3
An idea blatantly addressed in our cluster this week is the dual nature of humanity. In American Literature, we read “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America” by Benjamin Franklin, where his analysis of native culture elevates their civility over American barbarity. The title ironically attributes savagery to the Americans, instead of the expected natives, and questions the assumed progression or affluence of his peers. In Graphic Novels, we read a collection of stories in Blacksad, where occupants of New York City are depicted as animals. The graphic novel, created by two Spanish artists, reveals the international perception of Americans; abroad, we are still considered savages. Amid the competition created by an American Dream, or a state whose economy is adulterated by social Darwinism, Americans personify a predatory drive for success and survival. While the cluster conveyed some more gruesome characteristics of American culture, I was interested by the evidence of human duality in classes outside of the cluster. In my History of Film course, we are watching a film inspired by the story of Dracula. Ultimately, the vampire conveys that humans can be monsters, and that mankind as a whole is capable of great evil.