American Individual

With this, I tried to focus on the American ideal individual and what the culture often saw and sought with its freedom to act and be individualistic. Starting with the man that started it all, it goes through paintings of people, scenery, and even legends. Take a look.

Well, one obvious association is that there is only one individual in the painting. But also Washington seems to be representing the American ideal person: standing straight and tall rather than easily sitting, wielding a sword for might and courage, and extending a hand toward anyone to show acceptance and freedom.
I thought this one worked in reverse. While there are individuals acting according to their pleasures and desires, I feel that the activities, likely reading and painting, are those expected of women at the time. They are seemingly stuck in their role and have to follow it, unable to express their true individuality. But for all I know, maybe this was an expression of their true selves. Who knows.
I'm not exactly sure why this one speaks individuality to me. Perhaps the uniqueness look of the split watermelon (which is slightly brown and rotted-looking around the edges). Judging from the date, this was right around or after the War of 1812. It could be that the massive watermelon is Britain and the smaller, more whole fruit is America, staying united and together, expressing its individuality and unwillingness to break.
I will admit, the title is what first drew me here. However, this work kind of reminds me of Rip Van Winkle: a man lazying about, smoking, indulging in his vices, showing his independence. In a way, he kind of reminds me of a hobbit from Middle Earth . . . yeah, he kind of does look like Bilbo. Huh.
In a way, this could be seen as an expression of the American individual as this one is standing apart from the others, doing its own thing and trying to make its way through life. But it also carries some extra burdens on its back, the birds. No doubt they aren't much, but the cow certainly doesn't seem to mind and takes it on. I think this fits the mindset and attitude of the American individual.
Okay, if this doesn't show the power and uniqueness of the individual, I don't know what does. The often seemingly unfitting placement of colors and shapes express true individualistic thought and vision.
Well, the sea eagle is not nearly as majestic as the bald eagle, one of the symbols of America, but it seems to have a similar connotation. The bird is straight and tall, facing whatever direction it will go with resolution and determination. Plus, the bird is apparently of the Washington variety so I'd bet there is a correlation.
Ah, the classic tale of the chase between Crane and the Headless Horseman. This legend remains incredibly famous and one of the most ingrained in American culture and identity. This speaks more, I'd say, to the collective cultural love of tales of individuals struggling through their experiences and lives. This is the story of a man and his particular, unique life. That is the American tale and the individual identity.
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