BRITTNEY FARRAND

Executive Editor

 

Brittney Farrand was raised in the rural area of El Dorado County where she grew up with her three older brothers, three dogs, and five horses on a twenty acre plot that backed up to thousands of acres of protected land.  While growing up in this environment, she enjoyed trail rides that lasted all day, games of hide and seek with her brothers that spanned a square mile, swimming in creeks with waterfall waterslides, spending time alone hiking her property while searching for Native American artifacts, and just a general love of the wilderness.  As an adult, she continues to live in the same area, where she and her husband now raise their two children as they try to instill an appreciation of nature in them by spending time together fishing, camping, shooting, and hiking.  Not surprisingly, she identifies strongly with the literature of early American Romanticism, which is her focus as she pursues her MA at CSUS.  She also has a great love for composition, particularly literary analysis.  She currently works in the CSUS reading and writing center and leads four sections of 1X and 109X composition classes at CSUS where she enjoys collaborating with undergrad students on their writing.  Her essay “Deconstructing American Exceptionalism” was published in the 2013 edition of the Calaveras Station Literary Journal.


Excerpt from "Deconstructing American Exceptionalism in the Early Republic"

Charles Brockden Brown was able to assail America’s early republic double standards of democracy by using the novel as a political platform to expose hypocrisies.  In the introduction of Brown’s Ormond, editor Mary Chapman explains how Brown used his writing to accomplish this.  In Ormond “and other early writings, Brown debated the merit of organized religion, gender equality, political utopias, and self-interest, all issues of central concern to the early republic” (Chapman, 18).  Brown opens his novel with a letter written to the fictional I.E. Rosenberg by the mysterious character, S.C.  In this letter, S.C. makes a strong statement regarding American democracy.  S.C. writes to her friend about how “the distinctions of birth, the artificial degrees of esteem or contempt which connect themselves with different professions and ranks in your native country, are but little known among us” (Brown, 38).  This Franklinian classlessness, which was a common American claim of the time, insinuates how exceptional America was in regards to class equality, specifically when comparing itself to I.E. Rosenberg’s native country, England.  This line in Brown’s opening letter seems to be a direct reference to Benjamin Franklin’s earlier discussed essay, “For Those Who Would Remove Themselves to America”. 

Brown wastes no time in his novel unraveling this American fallacy, immediately landing a big blow on the theory of non-class distinction, by quickly introducing the character of Constantia’s father, Stephen Dudley, a spoiled American man who had spent his entire life painting, traveling the world, and living off his father’s income and industry.  The first paragraph of chapter one in Ormond describes a high-class, lavish lifestyle Mr. Dudley enjoyed funded by his father’s money.  He details how “the liberality of his father relieved him from all pecuniary cares.  His whole time was devoted to the improvement of his skill in his favorite art, and enriching of his mind with every valuable accomplishment” (Brown, 39).  This description of Mr. Dudley is clearly not that of a hard working middle class American.  Mr. Dudley is living an aristocratic lifestyle, not, in fact, much different from that an upper class European would enjoy in England.  Brown uses the aristocratic character of Mr. Dudley to dispel the notion that America was a classless society.

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