Department Chair

Dr. Ralph L. Wahlstrom

Date of Award

8-2013

Access Control

Campus-Only Access

Degree Name

English, M.A.

Department

English Department

Advisor

David Landrey, Associate Professor of English, Emeritus

Department Home page

http://english.buffalostate.edu/

First Reader

David Landrey, Associate Professor of English, Emeritus

Second Reader

Dr. Aimable Twagilimana, Ph.D. Professor of English

Abstract

Travel and relocation have been integral parts of the American experience from the first known journeys of Leif Ericson five hundred years before Columbus. Since then, Europeans moved about the continent as explorers, and eventually Americans moved westward as part of Manifest Destiny and in search of the American Dream. When they finally reached the west coast, the journey doubled back on itself, forcing the journeyers to search the already developed land for the disappearing American Dream. However, regardless of their reason for departing the land they were on, the characters of many of the works of American fiction (and in the case of Into the Wild, non-fiction) were altered by their time on the road, resulting in their finding a new truth at the end of their journey. By examining the journeys in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees, and Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, this paper examines the reasons for the journey or movement, the encounters with falsehood and hypocrisy, and the discovery of new understandings or truths at the end of their journeys.

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