How is it possible that two countries that speak the same language can ever experience miscommunication? The UK and the US have always been seen as rivals in the field of language and literature. While the English way of speaking, writing, and pronouncing words is technically the correct way, the American way is easier and more widespread as a result. How does that affect the literary legacy of both countries? Let’s find it out.
Students’ essays about popular literature
Students who are studying literature and language can attest to the fact that many classic novels by UK and US authors can be rather hard to read and understand. If you can’t understand something, you can’t really write about it. Luckily, there are multiple literature essay templates and samples you can find online. Websites offer free samples on “To Kill a Mockingbird”, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, and other popular novels by English and American writers. Looking at sample essays can help students gain a better insight into the world of literature.
One defining element of American literature is that it’s written in American English. That means the language is simplified, making the novels accessible to more people. Readers who are not well versed in the art of writing can still enjoy an American novel.
There are a number of major themes that are present in American writing. Those include the American dream, coming of age, loss of innocence, crime and punishment, courage and bravery, isolation from society, and survival of the fittest, just to name a few. Many of these themes are very hopeful and encouraging. Good should always prevail and evil will be destroyed. If you work hard, your efforts will pay off.
At the same time, some themes aim to explore the nature of humanity and the human experience. Novels about coming of age or the loss of innocence focus on describing the ways in which your view of the world changes as you grow into adulthood. Elements like the journey of life and spiritual development are often present in American novels.
English literature is written in UK English, making it more difficult to process. Because the language is more developed and uses specific words to describe different moods and events, some people may find it hard to understand at times. Take the most legendary English writer – Shakespeare. His plays, when sold in written form, often include a little vocabulary to ease comprehension.
British literature consists of a wide variety of components. You will find poetry, plays, speeches, novels, and other works of art in the UK literature collection. British literature explored and continues to explore heavy themes like war and peace, social upheavals, politics, social status, and voyages around the world.
Novels like Frankenstein by Mary Shelley are a prime example of the dark side of literature in the United Kingdom. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell were, for many readers, their first look into the genre of dystopian science fiction. Some of the most recognized British authors include Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and Jane Austen.
The differences between US and UK literature
Before we begin to explore the differences between British and American literature, it is worth noting that British literature is much older. As such, it can be assumed that many great American authors drew and continue to draw inspiration from British works.
At the start, it is evident that British literature aims to explore its culture and mirror the lives of English people. American literature, on the other hand, is deeply rooted in American culture, which is so different from English culture. That’s where all the literary themes and elements are derived from. While a big part of American culture is the American dream, British culture is more about the relationship between royalty and peasants. The two themes are rooted in the same issue – money and power, but each country approaches the issue very differently.
If we look at the portrayal of characters and plots in UK and US literature, we notice an interesting pattern. American literature is more realistic, with a realistic portrayal of characters and plots. English literature, on the other hand, puts more emphasis on word play, wit, and interesting plot lines, leaving realism behind. In essence, British authors often speak in metaphors and use hyperbole to enhance the message of the story, while American authors prefer to recount events as they happened and focus on character development.
James Collins is a popular writer and researcher. James has a background in English literature and language. His research didn’t inspire him to write a novel, but he is working on analyzing the differences between UK and US literature of the 21st century.