Simona Barca

The Birthplace of the American Vacation

Progym type: impersonation

Perrottet’s article brings to light the formation of the idea of the “American vacation.” The idea of vacation is unique to America, as other English-speaking countries refer to these leisurely trips as “holidays,” and Perrottet explains why that is and where it started. William Murray’s book “Adventures in the Wilderness” popularized the idea of getting out of the cities and into the wilderness for a break from the busyness of every  day life. While this is a welcome idea for any overworked urbanite, the degree to which Murray proposed to experience the outdoors was met with differing opinions and even backlash from some. While everyone wants a break from the busy concrete jungle of major metropolitan cities, not everyone wants to take that break while camping in the middle of the mountains for days on end, with no contact with civilized life for several days at a time. I would argue that the first round of Murray’s audience who were gravely disappointed in what they found versus what they expected, was simply an unsuccessful attempt at impersonation. The wannabe-nature-lovers were just that: they wanted to experience the wonderful solitude of the wilderness but were not prepared to leave behind luxuries that they had grown used to. As Murray noted in his defense, many first-time campers came

dressed as for a promenade along Broadway, or a day’s picnic.

They wanted to get Murray’s experience of refreshing solitude but without impersonating his means of making this kind of experience enjoyable or even  possible.

One reply on “The Birthplace of the American Vacation”

Simona, Thanks for your work here, including your careful reading of our text. Here are some thoughts on how to improve:

1. I like your interpretation of impersonation. But if you are not practicing the progym move yourself, your job is to pick out how the AUTHOR is using it. So… it’s not clear how the author is using this rhetorical move to fulfill his purpose. Is the author himself impersonating someone, in other words? Look more closely at the different steps in impersonating described on the webpage, which I’ve pasted below.

2. Per the instructions for our last asynchronous class, be sure to “tag” your posts according to the different progym exercises.

3. I’m glad you’re playing with the quote function… but for me, the quote just doesn’t look/feel right in this context. Perhaps this is because it’s just a short snippet. In any event, while I applaud the use of language from the text built into the flow of your own writing, be certain to consider the rhetorical effect of your own writing moves. In this case, I probably would have opened for quote marks “”.

Directions for Composition
Compose lines for a person, real or imaginary, dead or living, to speak under given circumstances. Dramatize through direct speech, using description and emotional language where appropriate, fitting the speech to the character of the speaker and the circumstances.

One should compose the impersonation in the style in which the character would speak, considering:
lack of finish
absence of figures
Consider also aspects of

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