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Fall 2000 Mid-Term The selections we have read this semester have literally opened up my eyes to early American literature While some readings have merely confirmed my current beliefs others have contrasted sharply and even changed some of my views of early American history The works I will be discussing are Columbus Journal of the First Voyage William Bradford Excerps from Of Plymouth Plantation and Mary Rolandson Narrative These three works have had a dramatic effect on my current views of early American literature and history The Journal of the First Voyage probably had the most impact on me It showed the Indians and colonists as having a very peaceful interaction with each other I must admit I never had a picture in my mind of Indians being peaceful This image contrasts with the image of Indians as savage barbarians thats so commonly portrayed on television film and even some of the readings in our textbook The Indians revered Columbus and his men and traded freely with them bringing javelins and clews of cotton to barter with they exchanged with the sailors for bits of glass broken cups and fragments of earthenware118 Whereas other authors such as Mary Rowlandson depicted the Indians as Merciless Heathens Columbus found them to be quite the contrary describing them as a very gentle race without the knowledge of any iniquity they neither kill nor steal nor carry weapons and are so timid that one of our men might put a hundred of them to flight124 Of course all things being relative Columbus was not exactly in the same position as Mary Rowlandson Mary Rowlandsons experience with the Indians was a far cry from Columbus interaction with them She shares her feelings towards the Indians in a very negative way During the Indan attack on her Lancaster settlement Rowlandson describes the scene of stabbing killing and burning as very gruesome and vicious In fact with her brother-in-law lying dead
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