Over the course of this semester, we have read several interesting works. Through they may have been written at different points in history, by different people, many of these stories share a common theme. Three such stories are “The Relation of Álvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca” by Cabeza de Vaca, “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson” by Mary Rowlandson ad “Remarks Concerning the Savages” by Benjamin Franklin. These stories all shared a common theme of the writers’ experiences and views of Native Americans. Moving chronologically, the first story to look at is “The Relations of Álvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca” by Cabeza de Vaca. Cabeza wrote this as a letter to Emperor Charles V who inherited the throne from Ferdinand and Isabella. In this story, Cabeza recounted his time spent among the natives of America. During his time in the area he traveled among several tribes including the malhados the Avavares and the Arbadaos. While staying with these tribes, he picked up on their customs and began to live much the same way among them. Cabeza learned how harsh things could be while living with the Malhados. He wrote several times about the lack of food and supplies. In one passage, he wrote, “Three months out of every year they eat nothing but oysters and drink very bad water. Wood is scarce; mosquitos, plentiful. The houses are made of mats; their floors consist of masses of oyster shells. The natives sleep on these shells – in animal skins, those who happen to own such. Many a time I would have to go three days without eating, as would the natives.” (Vaca 31) He noticed more than just the lack of food and belongings. He made note of the way the tribe mourns a loss, and the way families interact with their in-laws... ... middle of paper ... ... forged their diverse opinions about these Natives. Though they may have seen various sides of these people, they all left us with some amazing accounts of their time among them. Works Cited Franklin, Benjamin. "Remarks Concerning the Savages." Company, W.W. Norton &. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Compnay, 2013. 244-247. Print. Johansen, Bruce E. "Forgotten Founders." 1982. www.ratical.org. Web. 26 November 2013. Rowlandson, Mary. "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson." Company, W.W. Norton &. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. 127-143. Print. Vaca, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de. "The Relations of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca." Company, W.W. Norton &. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2013. 29-35. Book.
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King, Thomas. The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Print.
Native American Captivity Narratives are accounts about people of European decent getting captured by their enemy “the savage” (Hawkes, par. 1). According to the “Encyclopedia of The Great Plains” These accounts were widely popular in the 17th century and had an adventurous story-line, resulting from a conflict between Native Americans and Europeans settling in the New World. A clear message through these captivity narratives is that European American culture was superior to Native American culture. In 1682 the first Native American Captivity Narrative was written by Mary Rowlandson titled “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration.” Some years earlier, John Smith related his experience of being captured in his personal account of the settlement of Jamestown. Their contributions ultimately made a great historical impact on Native American Literature. The captivity narratives authored by Mary Rowlandson and John Smith portrayed the Native Americans as devilish creatures that were simply evil, but the stories also reveal that the natives were frightened of white people and at times treated them with benevolence.
In her account, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, Rowlandson
One can only speculate on why there is such a huge difference in these two writers’ attitudes. Their backgrounds may be factors that have influenced their attitudes. For de Vaca, it may be his religious background that has influenced him and shaped his attitude. In his account, he acknowledges his religion several times. “My only solace in these labors was to think of the sufferings of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and the blood He shed for me,” de Vaca writes.
The article, “Native Reactions to the invasion of America”, is written by a well-known historian, James Axtell to inform the readers about the tragedy that took place in the Native American history. All through the article, Axtell summarizes the life of the Native Americans after Columbus acquainted America to the world. Axtell launches his essay by pointing out how Christopher Columbus’s image changed in the eyes of the public over the past century. In 1892, Columbus’s work and admirations overshadowed the tears and sorrows of the Native Americans. However, in 1992, Columbus’s undeserved limelight shifted to the Native Americans when the society rediscovered the history’s unheard voices and became much more evident about the horrific tragedy of the Natives Indians.
Despite many problematic dynamics that perpetuate stereotypes of Native Americans or fail to fully and accurately portray them, the audience is provided with a different insight of the actual history regarding Native Americans and white settlers that invoked violence, as the real savages amongst these tribes who resided
Mary Rowlandson’s story came from the journaling of her brutal 11 weeks in captivity filled with sad and unfortunate events. She was taken captive by a group of Indians after they surrounded her house and devastated her town. Watching her family be slain in front of her, she herself was shot. Her daughter, which was a little over six years old, was shot in the stomach while Mary held her but still grasped onto life for a few more days (Lincoln, 258). Mary Rowlandson and her child were taken hostage and made to w...
During the era of maritime exploration and the discovery of the Americas, assumptions were made of the land likening it to not only a paradise, but one that was overrun with cannibalistic natives. These suppositions led to a desire to explore the lands and conquer the savages that posed a threat to man and civilization itself. The consequences of this mass colonization and dehumanization of the natives paved the way for literary pieces that pose as critiques of the era when viewed through a post-colonial lens. When looked at through a post-colonial perspective, a few common themes prevail amongst compared texts. Focusing on the theme of the journey, what it means, and what is at stake, Garcilaso de la Vega’s “The Story of Pedro Serrano” and Juan José Saer’s The Witness both touch on all these themes with great severity, dissecting the purpose of the journey and what it means to be a civilized man.
Rowlandson, Mary. A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.In Women’s Indian Captivity Narratives. Ed. Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.
The captivity narrative is one of the first styles of literature that was ever birthed from the “new world.” This specific style of literature perfectly catered to what kind of information the folks in England were hungry for. It was real life accounts of an individual’s experience in a mysterious land that England wanted to read about. Scholars have debated whether some captivity narratives have been fabricated to adhere to what the public demanded however the majority of the narratives share the same exact traits as one another whether they are deemed trustworthy or not. The accounts of John Smith and Mary Rowlandson differ in degrees of authenticity, but both hold traits that are parallel with one another.
Louise Erdrich’s short story “American horse” is a literary piece written by an author whose works emphasize the American experience for a multitude of different people from a plethora of various ethnic backgrounds. While Erdrich utilizes a full arsenal of literary elements to better convey this particular story to the reader, perhaps the two most prominent are theme and point of view. At first glance this story seems to portray the struggle of a mother who has her son ripped from her arms by government authorities; however, if the reader simply steps back to analyze the larger picture, the theme becomes clear. It is important to understand the backgrounds of both the protagonist and antagonists when analyzing theme of this short story. Albetrine, who is the short story’s protagonist, is a Native American woman who characterizes her son Buddy as “the best thing that has ever happened to me”. The antagonist, are westerners who work on behalf of the United States Government. Given this dynamic, the stage is set for a clash between the two forces. The struggle between these two can be viewed as a microcosm for what has occurred throughout history between Native Americans and Caucasians. With all this in mind, the reader can see that the theme of this piece is the battle of Native Americans to maintain their culture and way of life as their homeland is invaded by Caucasians. In addition to the theme, Erdrich’s usage of the third person limited point of view helps the reader understand the short story from several different perspectives while allowing the story to maintain the ambiguity and mysteriousness that was felt by many Natives Americans as they endured similar struggles. These two literary elements help set an underlying atmos...
In American Indian Stories, University of Nebraska Press Lincoln and London edition, the author, Zitkala-Sa, tries to tell stories that depicted life growing up on a reservation. Her stories showed how Native Americans reacted to the white man’s ways of running the land and changing the life of Indians. “Zitkala-Sa was one of the early Indian writers to record tribal legends and tales from oral tradition” (back cover) is a great way to show that the author’s stories were based upon actual events in her life as a Dakota Sioux Indian. This essay will describe and analyze Native American life as described by Zitkala-Sa’s American Indian Stories, it will relate to Native Americans and their interactions with American societies, it will discuss the major themes of the book and why the author wrote it, it will describe Native American society, its values and its beliefs and how they changed and it will show how Native Americans views other non-Natives.