The essay ‘The Atlantic Widens’ is a timely and engaging reflection

Published: 2021-06-13 08:10:03
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The essay ‘The Atlantic Widens’ is a timely and engaging reflection on the complex relationship between the world’s only superpower, the Unites States, and its potential rival, the European Union. The essay has a powerful appeal and is marked by stylistic perfection. Three literary devices are utilized with mastery, namely irony, binary opposition, and symbolism.
The essay is not only ironic; it is self-ironic. The narrator, himself an American, shares an insight into the life in Europe and the experience of being ridiculed and derided at every turn. However, the author laughs together with Europeans and acknowledges many faults of Americans that make them an easy target of offensive jokes.
The author admits that some Americans are ignorant of the rest of the world and excessively proud of their country. Reid’s openness about his experience in Europe makes him more credible as a narrator; furthermore, it generates sympathy towards Americans who have to suffer from negative stereotyping, everywhere they go.
The second powerful device used in the essay is the binary opposition. The relationship between the U.S. and Europe is described as a classical love-hate drama: although Europeans despise American ways, it does not prevent them from enjoying many elements of American culture, ranging from television series to food and fashion. This dichotomy uncovers the hypocrisy of European views on their transatlantic partner.
Finally, symbolism is another narrative element that makes the essay so appealing. The author refers to 9/11 as a point of unification of the entire Western civilization. The terrorist attack on New York serves as a symbol of compassion and support Europeans expressed for their American counterparts. For these three reasons, the essay is a wonderful piece of publicism, of interest to both Americans and Europeans who want to get a deeper understanding of their mysterious love-hate relationship. References
Reid, T. R. “The Atlantic Widens.” Wilson Quarterly 28.4 (2004): 13-23.

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