Hudson, Jack William
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Both Letters from an American Farmer and Sketches of Eighteenth Century America focus on recording natural phenomena and explaining them in a way that merges scientific, philosophical, and literary practice. However, Crèvecoeur’s writings are not simply natural history. The naturalistic descriptions of farm life, animals, and plants provided by the narrator, James, encode political and social commentary on the developing American continent. Images of agricultural growth represent America’s political and social promise, as well as such problems as slavery and Revolutionary unrest. James makes particularly rich use of insect metamorphosis as a metaphor for both his personal plight within the narrative arc of the writings and as a figure for the two-stage development of America as, first, a colony and, later, a nation.