Mr Thomas — Lynden Christian High School English
What is America?
Martin Dressler paints a confusing picture: it’s a place of dreams, illusions, heartbreaks, and achievement.
In telling the story, Steven Millhauser uses anachronism — using elements of one time period (theme parks – a mid to late 20th Century development) in another time period when they did not exist (Grand Cosmo – turn of the 19th Century).
He gives us characters we like and hate at the same time; he gives us people we can trust and question all at once. What does that say about America? What is America? Were the post-modernists right? Is life in America an illusion, or is it stuck in a grand narrative about itself? If you ask Steven Millhauser, he would say “Yes!”
Confused? Good. In order to find out, we need to look forward and backward, isolating the dreams that made this country work, and come to some conclusion about our expectations for defining America.