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Reflections On Hampton Sides' Americana Essay

1309 words - 6 pages

Hampton Sides examines the many and varied subcultures that make up our great nation. In his book Americana he has collected the essays that reveal glimpses into the American psyche we keep hidden from the rest of the world. Through these revelations we meet the true American behind the veil. Our persona as interpreted by the rest of the world fails to show just how eclectic our society really is. By writing these essays, Hampton shows our real selves in a well-written and vivid fashion. His passion for the written word is evident in his approach to the subject of what truly it truly means to be an American.
In “The Birdman Drops In” we meet the growing subculture of skateboard ...view middle of the document...

For a week, these fellow enthusiasts enjoy camaraderie not shared elsewhere all yearlong. Here in Harley heaven, people of all walks of life come together to commune and celebrate the open road and freedom. The open road calls to the soul of the biker.
Hampton spends time among the various bikers: outlaws, joy riders, and true believers. Riders of anything Japanese are not welcome in Sturgis during the Harley homage. Each biker camp has a different feel. Civilized bikers prefer to stay in the hotels, and the outlaws or biker gangs stay in filthy camps and try to impress each other with stories of depravity. Hampton has truly found the core of 'bikerdom' as it were, and brought it to the attention of the public.
“Sisters of the Bowl” is an interesting look at the entrepreneurial spirit of the American housewife. The Tupperware brand is a household name because of the legions of dedicated women who host parties and buy the newest product. Hampton introduces us to the behind the scenes convention held every year. It is there that the true fervor of Tupperware frenzy reaches its height. A weeklong celebration of sales, new product, and coaching highlights the need for the independent salesperson in the dynamic Tupperware industry.
Tupperware is just one of the many direct sales organizations out there. The essay in Americana highlights another growing segment in our society. Those that want to supplement or replace their income by working at home. When we read about Tupperware, we are really reading about an industry that promises to let you do just that. Joining a program like this gives you the flexibility to continue your current job and work when you want.
Fishing fanatics are the focus of “Let Us Now Praise Famous Fish”. Anglers build their whole lives around angling. Fishing fever is something most wives know intimately; their husbands are frequent sufferers. Hampton writes about the Bassmasters Classic and its founder, but the story does not stop there. Ray Scott merely brought a deep-seated passion to the forefront and gave serious anglers a way to work at nothing all day.
Fishing is a sport, and many people enjoy spending the day on the water. Hampton has shown us another piece of America. Fishing has become such a way of life that many people spend several days a year fishing, summer or winter, rain or shine. Once again, he has highlighted a subculture hiding in the melting pot of our nation. Hampton brings us closer and closer to understanding who we are by showing us the various people that make up our society.
In Americana, we also see a not so pretty side of religious fanaticism. Hampton wrote two pieces that can show just how extreme our beliefs could be. “Jerusalem on the Mississippi” and “This Is Not The Place” feature people...

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