Ong analyzes both works together. Bugbee, described by Ong as a non-cantankerous Thoreau as well as similar to Henry James, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound, takes a typically American view of the wilderness as both quantifying and mollifying a wilderness of the human heart. This view is typically American, claims Ong, and as evidence for this, he points out Bugbee's and other American writers' use of "I," which in Bugbee's case, Ong argues, includes the experience of other men.
Ong uses Marcel to illustrate the difference between European and American Existentialist and Personalist writings. According to Ong, Marcel's exploration of the self excludes other men while insinuating they exist. Bugbee, on the other hand, delves into the unpopulated wilderness and his own soul as well as those of all others. Bugbee's work, according to Ong, exhibits specifically American characteristics while exalting American philosophy to consistency with the human condition.
Ong further discusses American thought in the articles "That American Way" and "American Catholicism and America."
University of Dayton