“We can’t go back. We can’t go back to the savages: not a stride. We can be in sympathy with them. We can take a great curve in their direction, onwards. But we cannot turn the current of our life backwards, back towards their soft warm twilight and uncreate mud. Not for a moment. If we do it for a moment, it makes us sick.
“Men are free when they are in a living homeland, not when they are straying and breaking away. Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free when they belong to a living, Organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized purpose. Not when they are escaping to some wild west. The most unfree souls go west, and shout of freedom. Men are freest when they are most unconscious of freedom. The shout is a rattling of chains, always was.” — D. H. Lawrence
In his Leatherstocking books, Fenimore is off on another track. He is no longer concerned with social white Americans that buzz with pins through them, buzz loudly against every mortal thing except the pin itself. The pin of the Great Ideal.
The following passage on America is from D. H. Lawrence’s novel The Plumed Serpent (1926). The Plumed Serpent tells the story of Kate Leslie, an Irish widow of 40, who, to escape her unhappy life, decides to travel to Mexico. She is horrified at Mexico’s ugliness, degeneracy, and backwardness. Read more …