From Studies in Classic American Literature (1923); page references are to the 1972 Viking Press edition. For the full text online, go to http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/LAWRENCE/lawrence.html
"What's wrong with Benjamin, that we can't stand him?" (16)
"And now I, at least, know why I can't stand Benjamin. He tries to take away my wholeness and my dark forest, my freedom. For how can any man be free, without an illimitable background? And Benjamin tries to shove me into a barbed wire paddock and make me grow potatoes or Chicagoes" (19).
"Why then did Benjamin set up this dummy of a perfect citizen as a pattern to America? Of course, he did it in perfect good faith, as far as he knew. He thought it simply was the true ideal. But what we think we do is not very important. We never really know what we are doing. Either we are materialistic instruments, like Benjamin, or we move in the gesture of creation, from our deepest self, usually unconscious. We are only the actors, we are never wholly the authors of our own deeds or works. It is the author, the unknown inside us or outside us" (20).
"Franklin is the real practical prototype of the American. Crevecoeur is the emotional" (24).
"But Crevecoeur was an artist as well as a liar, otherwise we would not have bothered with him. He wanted to put NATURE in his pocket, as Benjamin put the Human Being" (25).
"Man, too, says Hector, is the friend of man. Whereupon the Indians burnt his farm; so he refrains from mentioning it in the Letters, for fear of invalidating his premises" (27).
"He wanted his ideal state. At the same time he wanted to know the other state,the dark, savage mind. He wanted both. Can't be done, Hector. The one is the death of the other" (32).
"Crevecoeur, of course, had never intended to return as a hunter to the bosom of Nature, only as a husbandman. the hunter is a killer. The husbandman, on the other hand, brings about the birth and increase. But even the husbandman strains in dark mastery over the unwilling earth and beast. . . . he must have the have blood-knowledge, and the slow, but deep, mastery. There is no equality or selfless humility. The toiling blood swamps the idea, inevitably. For this reason the most idealist nations invent the most machines. American simply teems with mechanical inventions, because nobody in America ever wants to do anything. They are idealists. Let a machine do the doing" (32).
"But Crevecoeur wanted to be an intellectual savage, like a great many
more we have met" (33).