The Old World always thought itself the craddle of civilization. After all, who could ever even come close to rivaling it in wealth, power and cultural radiance ?
Except someone did. After the American Revolution, ties with the motherland were severed, and some intelectuals realized that it meant the birth of a new way of life, a new culture and a new kind of man. Thus, the character of the naive and/or unfazed protagonist symbolizing America's situation as a Blank Slate
started popping up in many works, each with a different take on the matter, ranging from unwavering faith to complete Bring Me My Brown Pants
Those protagonists are mostly divided in three subcatories :
- Incorruptible Adamic Hero : This character, usually young, idealistic and plucky, will bring change, as a Blithe Spirit Manic Pixie Dream Girl, no matter how stagnant and corrupt the old society she/he meets with has been for the last millenium. No one can resist their obstinate cheerfulness because she/he is unaware and untouched by traditional but corrupted views. They represent the vast creative potential of America, freed from the ties of the "tainted" mainland. Trope Codifier would be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
- Naive Adamic Hero : This character's innocence may make them unfaillingly moral, but it will be useless and make them put Honor Before Reason. Or they will be so utterly unaware of evil and tentation that their shallow nature makes them The Corruptible... Trope Codifier would probably be Susanna Rowson's Charlotte Temple (but also anything written by Henry James).
- Unscrupulous Adamic Hero : This character does not need further corruption. Their ignorance of other laws and customs is willing, and their rejection of traditional values comes from disinterest for them and the hindrance that being The Fettered occasions. Generally ruthless, greedy but Obliviously Evil. Trope Codifier would be Undine Spraggs from The Custom Of The Country.
See also the closely related Amnesiac Hero
, Unfazed Everyman
and Na´ve Everygirl