America, where people do not inquire of a stranger, ''What is he?'' But ''What can he do?''
There are no second acts in American lives.
On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment -- half- time.
France was a land, England was a people, but America, having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter -- it was the graves at Shiloh and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart.
American is a very difficult language mixed with English.
America is a willingness of the heart.
Americans see history as a straight line and themselves standing at the cutting edge of it as representatives for all mankind. They believe in the future as if it were a religion; they believe that there is nothing they cannot accomplish, that solutions wait somewhere for all problems, like brides.
America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.
Author: John Updike (1932)
Profession: American Novelist, Critic
On 16 September 1985, when the Commerce Department announced that the United States had become a debtor nation, the American Empire died.
Author: Gore Vidal (1925)
Profession: American Novelist, Critic
Being American is to eat a lot of beef steak, and boy, we've got a lot more beef steak than any other country, and that's why you ought to be glad you're an American. And people have started looking at these big hunks of bloody meat on their plates, you know, and wondering what on earth they think they're doing.
Author: Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922)
Profession: American Novelist
It's the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it. Everybody has their own America, and then they have the pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can't see.
Author: Andy Warhol (1930)
Profession: American Artist, Filmmaker
I think the greatest curse of American society has been the idea of an easy millennialism -- that some new drug, or the next election or the latest in social engineering will solve everything.
Author: Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989)
Profession: American Writer, Poet
The ideal American type is perfectly expressed by the Protestant, individualist, anti-conformist, and this is the type that is in the process of disappearing. In reality there are few left.
Author: Orson Welles (1915-1985)
Profession: American Film Maker
I despair of the Republic! Such dreariness, such whining sallow women, such utter absence of the amenities, such crass food, crass manners, crass landscape!! What a horror it is for a whole nation to be developing without the sense of beauty, and eating bananas for breakfast.
Author: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)
Profession: American Author
Their manners, speech, dress, friendships, -- the freshness and candor of their physiognomy -- the picturesque looseness of their carriage -- their deathless attachment to freedom -- their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean -- the practical acknowledgment of the citizens of one state by the citizens of all other states -- the fierceness of their roused resentment -- their curiosity and welcome of novelty -- their self-esteem and wonderful sympathy -- their susceptibility to a slight -- the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors -- the fluency of their speech -- their delight in music, a sure symptom of manly tenderness and native elegance of soul -- their good temper and open-handedness -- the terrible significance of their elections, the President's taking off his hat to them, not they to him -- these too are unrhymed poetry. It awaits the gigantic and generous treatment worthy of it.
Author: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Profession: American Poet