Reaction Paper: Confederates in the Attic

Pages: 5 (1513 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

Confederates in the Attic is a book written and published by Tony Horwitz in the year 1998. The author writes about the history of America and the impact of the civil war in America. He explains how several fundamental factors such as social and religious factors influenced people's behavioral patterns in the old days and still in the modern days. This book exhausts every step of the civil war among different communities. In addition to this, it reveals the author's personal experiences during that time such that readers can identify with his true feelings of remorse, confusion and happiness.

The author expresses his concern about how people cling to their beliefs and religion. No matter the conflicts and struggles, they still cling to all beliefs and practices that have been lost during the war. This is because according to the author, the civil war did not give people happy moments and memories. He feels that the remembrance of the civil war affects Americans in a negative way yet they would rather hold on to the lost and painful memories that forget the whole experience and move on. This explains the author's emotions, which is also a good point for readers to relate well with the content in the book. The book contains fifteen chapters in which he explains every event or trip and mentions every character for these sections. In his writing, he explains the cultural, religious and social practices of people during the civil war that still affect modernity. Through the different experiences the author shares, his most disturbing ones include those who are radical racists who were capable of slaughtering a man who could not adhere to their demands.

The book reveals the author's personal relationship that influenced his life both positively and negatively. His relationship exposed him to other strange cultures, which he learnt to embrace and practice against his will. After some time, he learnt embracing the culture through the events because they gave him a new identity. Apart from this, he also developed new skills through his relationship. His relationship takes a new turn when he goes to the war but contrary to his expectations, they have to rush out of the war area. This gives the readers an understanding of what history meant to the people and how they received history. According to the author, southerners cling to the lost cause because to them history and culture define who they are and who they can e in future. If history were not positive and educative, they would want to be better and improve their lives. Religion on the other hand gives a sense of direction in their lives and a fulfillment that they cannot get elsewhere.

This means that without these elements, people would not have a clear direction in life and neither would they identify themselves to the communities. History remains a respected aspect of life and those who commercialized it would not have a rightful place in the community. For this reason, the Southerners cling to what they lost when fighting to keep their culture, religion and history. For them, the memories help them identify themselves as those involved in the war rather that those who lost. This is because they have a story to tell about what they were and what they have become rather than what they would have become. The historical sites, which they considered important, destroyed during the war, remain ancient and important in their memories such that forgetting about them gives them a feeling of guilt. Most of them claim that if they forget about their experiences, sites and culture, they are giving up and in their terms, this means committing suicide.

In the book, the author also stated that most ideas and values of these people were religious. This is because they gave everything some spiritual value and whatever ideas presented had an analysis and given spiritual meaning and attachment. He also explains that religion was the most important thing for them not because they wanted to develop spiritual fulfillment but because they wanted to stand out among those who obeyed the law the most. Each religious practice had a law attached to it from which someone was to get his knowledge. Apart from this, all ideas presented must have been in line with the laws of the community whether cultural, social or religious. According to the people, the laws of religion represent a major guide in life and without the law; they cannot know when they are right or wrong or when to have the confidence to make the right decisions.

However, religion should serve the purpose of offering guidance to people and not something they should totally depend on. Religion was to present an outside perspective on how people should live their lives. Through this, many learnt to embrace one another in the community rather than despise others. Apart from religious practices by the people, religious laws also determined relationships among different people in the community such that it was more of demand to embrace one another. Through this people never experienced racism until the time of the civil war. This is when the author first experiences racism in the community, which turns out to be a traumatizing experience for him. According to the people, racism is against the religious laws but according to the other rich communities, it is their way of presenting different identities to the outside world. The author considers being present during the war a simpler way of identifying himself as an American because he has the history of America in his memory.

On the other hand, social forces such as gender, race and social class determined the beliefs of a person during that time. This is because of the influence it had on them. For example, the society considered neither women nor the black community brave or skilled enough to make important decisions. This means that only a part of the community could rise up in defense. This means that no matter how frustrated and eager they were to fight back, they could not break the religious laws guiding and controlling them. The beliefs and cultural practices did not allow women and children to be involved in wars. This means that regardless of how one was skilled, they could not put their skills to use as long as they were children or women. In the introduction, the author states that female characters were the most neglected, which shows that the community had no expectations for women whatsoever.

As Southerners, they were already used to their traditional way of living and even though many survived, they chose to put their faith in the things they used to know. They held the belief that they could find a way to recover what was lost in the war. The civil war for many Americans represents what makes up the history of America. It is part of the American history embraced because of values acquired from other people's experiences. Just like soldiers working hard to make a difference during the war, the author is trying to make a mark with his readers by expressing all his thoughts and experiences in the book. Throughout the entire book, the author tries to seek an answer as to how he can reconcile people of different races and social standards to living and communicating as one. This does not seem like an easy task but according to the author, people can decide to move on and develop new history about their present experiences, which can present ways of reconciliation. It presents the common issues that the society faces in the modern days and how to solve such issues.

In conclusion, "Confederates in the Attic" is a good book for students because it gives them the understanding of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Confederates in the Attic.  (2013, July 28).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from

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"Confederates in the Attic."  28 July 2013.  Web.  19 May 2019. <>.

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"Confederates in the Attic."  July 28, 2013.  Accessed May 19, 2019.