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Heroism in Modern American Literature

Andrew Bernstein

Presented at: IRM 1996

Date: Jun 29, 1996

The United States is a heroic country, a benevolent giant with the power and will to do good. But blinded by a lack of proper intellectual guidance, the country is helpless against irrational ideas that are destroying it. This theme––the strong, moral hero destroyed by his lack of intellectual understanding––is the essence of post-World War II America and is a leitmotif running through much of its best fiction. Dr. Bernstein philosophically examines three such novels––Shane, A Separate Peace, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest––analyzing America's conception of heroism and the foundations of this view.

(This is a revised version of a course presented at prior conferences.)



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