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dc.contributor.advisorConaway, Charles A.
dc.contributor.advisorJensen, Jessica Garces
dc.contributor.advisorHoeness-Krupsaw, Susanna M.
dc.contributor.authorAtherton, Christi Ann
dc.date.accessioned2019-12-09T18:13:42Z
dc.date.available2019-12-09T18:13:42Z
dc.date.issued2018
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12419/319
dc.descriptionThesis available in Rice Library University Archives and Special Collection.
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores the ideology of the American dream and the alternately complementary or competing ideology of American exceptionalism at a specific point in time. During World War II, American Kenneth McCutchan moved with the American army from Africa, Corsica, northward through France, and eventually into a conquered Germany. He met many families and individuals along the way, but he achieved a lasting impact on three in particular. Letters, written in French, from his French correspondents into the 1980s provide evidence of his friendship and his willingness to share the abundance of his country. McCutchan's own wartime journals reveal much of the same and also a disturbing but honest viewpoint of an America that he believed to be more advanced, better than other countries, more capable of leading the world-in a word, exceptional. Using the letters, journals, impressions of French novelist and essayist Simone de Beauvoir (who also lived through the war in France), and the French, American, and English literature exchanged by McCutchan and one of his correspondents, I build a picture of an American who sometimes thought himself above the rest of the world, albeit with the best of intentions. Yet McCutchan was always willing to partake in new cultures and meet new people, activities that tempered his ingrained American exceptionalism and encouraged him to share the bounty from his own American dream. These two facets of his personality are more on display than ever in our modern American society but often in such a way that they are at war with each other. Lessons from McCutchan and his French correspondents are just as relevant today as they were seventy-five years ago.
dc.titleDreaming the American dream on both sides of the Atlantic : an American WWII journal and letters from France
html.description.abstractThis thesis explores the ideology of the American dream and the alternately complementary or competing ideology of American exceptionalism at a specific point in time. During World War II, American Kenneth McCutchan moved with the American army from Africa, Corsica, northward through France, and eventually into a conquered Germany. He met many families and individuals along the way, but he achieved a lasting impact on three in particular. Letters, written in French, from his French correspondents into the 1980s provide evidence of his friendship and his willingness to share the abundance of his country. McCutchan's own wartime journals reveal much of the same and also a disturbing but honest viewpoint of an America that he believed to be more advanced, better than other countries, more capable of leading the world-in a word, exceptional. Using the letters, journals, impressions of French novelist and essayist Simone de Beauvoir (who also lived through the war in France), and the French, American, and English literature exchanged by McCutchan and one of his correspondents, I build a picture of an American who sometimes thought himself above the rest of the world, albeit with the best of intentions. Yet McCutchan was always willing to partake in new cultures and meet new people, activities that tempered his ingrained American exceptionalism and encouraged him to share the bounty from his own American dream. These two facets of his personality are more on display than ever in our modern American society but often in such a way that they are at war with each other. Lessons from McCutchan and his French correspondents are just as relevant today as they were seventy-five years ago.
dc.contributor.degreeMaster of Arts in English
dc.typeThesis (M.A.)--University of Southern Indiana, 2018


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