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Commodification of American Cities

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Melanie1 Comment

In the article “The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification,” Andrew Gross addresses some of the inherent issues with the writing of the WPA guidebooks as they relate to tourism in America. In the article, Gross explains that the purpose of these guidebooks was to bring about consumer spending, which could potentially boost the economy during times of extreme …

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True America

In The Travel Habit, Photo-Text books by Melanie1 Comment

In the travelogue American Roadtrip by Ilf and Petrov we see a depiction of the overall United States through the eyes of two foreigners. I thought it was a very interesting read with striking photographs even if most of them have been extensively damaged. One of the main themes observed by Ilf and Petrov is the idea that most Americans …

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The Pain of Leaving Home

In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (1) by MelanieLeave a Comment

The Dust Bowl along with the Great Depression was an incredibly difficult time for millions of farmers across America. People whose livelihood and dignity was tied to the land they worked saw themselves torn from that land as conditions worsened and banks began pushing them out of their own homes. This is perhaps one of the most persistent themes throughout …

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Great America

In The Travel Habit, West (2) by Melanie1 Comment

While reading A Cool Million I certainly felt like there was a similarity between the book and today’s political climate. The blaming of outsiders for the breaking down of the American Dream seems to be a common theme in both today’s America, and the America portrayed in “A Cool Million.” But that parallel between the two in my mind was …

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The Trouble with The American Dream

In The Travel Habit, West (1) by Melanie2 Comments

In Nathaniel West’s “A Cool Million” we finally see the concept of the “American Dream” that we have often encountered in other readings through a satirical lens. In the book, the main character Lem encounters an unbelievable number of struggles in his quest to becoming a wealthy man. He loses his teeth, scalp, one of his legs, an eye, and ultimately …

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Racial and Economic Divides

In The Travel Habit, Travel Fiction by MelanieLeave a Comment

Upon reading Algren’s “Somebody in Boots,” I immediately picked up on the difference between this passage and other readings we have analyzed this semester. This was a time of extreme despair when most people could not imagine anything beyond their bleak reality, but reading this passage it felt so much worse than that. In “Waiting for Nothing,” Kromer often used simple, …

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Struggle to Survive

In The Travel Habit, Kromer by MelanieLeave a Comment

In the novel “Waiting for Nothing,” we see the daily struggles a  “stiff” faces during the Great Depression through the eyes of that stiff himself. It’s a poignant, and heartbreaking story that is far more powerful than any of the other stories we have read so far in the semester. Kromer writes this novel from the perspective of a vagrant, …

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Acknowledging Choice

In The Travel Habit, Writers on the Road (2) by Melanie1 Comment

During the Great Depression, many photojournalists and writers set out to travel across the United States in an effort to document the suffering that the crisis had brought about to Americans everywhere. Many of these accounts from the perspective of writers have something in common: they tell the stories of individuals; in “Home Country,” Pyle tells the story of a …

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American Optimism

In Writers on the Road (1), The Travel Habit by Melanie1 Comment

Grittiness. Perseverance. Unwavering optimism in the face of difficult circumstances. No other word perhaps describes the American spirit better than optimism. The belief that despite difficult circumstances better times will follow, is permanently woven into the fabric of America. There has been perhaps no greater test to this American optimism than the Great Depression that rocked this nation in the …