Monday, July 2

Where's America's epic?

In some of classes that I have been taking the past couple of semesters, we've been studying classical literature; namely, the great epics of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, and now El Canter de Mio Cid, compiled (or written - no one really knows) by Per Abbat.

Homer's epics illustrate the values and heroic deeds in Greek history; the Aeneid tells of the divine founding of Italy; El Cid is the epic tale of the exiled hero, El Cid. Each of these works are standards for their country of origin. Every Spainard knows the story of El Cid. Everyone in Rome is probably familiar with the name of Aeneas. And Achilles and Odysseus? I won't even comment on those Greek heroes. I don't have an extensive knowledge or understanding of literature from other countries, but I am sure there exists a famous work (epic poetry or prose) that the people considers as "their national story."

Pondering on the history of other countries, I began to wonder if America has such an epic story that has actually been published as a work of literature. Do we have a national hero, and if so, who is it? Columbus? John Smith? Lewis and Clark? George Washington? Pecos Bill? Sadly, I am not as familiar with American literature, but I know there has to be some epic story that consitutes as "our national story."

Can ya'll think of anything? Thoughts? Comments? Something to ponder...

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