I’m not sure just what it is that makes a Great American Writer.  I guess it’s capturing a sense of a time and place, and reflecting what others see in themselves (sometimes even the ugly bits that they wish they didn’t see).  Sometimes you reflect what others wished they saw in themselves, but that’s a rarer kind of success, since usually people just get upset with you because they aren’t what they wish to be.  And that’s an odd paradox, isn’t it?