Early US Literature

Home » Reflective Essays

Category Archives: Reflective Essays

A Reflection on Woman’s Fiction by Nina Baym

Nina Baym’s Woman’s Fiction is an influential monograph that explores the rise of women’s fiction in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. Baym is careful to inform readers early on that exploring the writings of these women “seems to be outside the interests and sympathies of male critics”, and at the time this was written, she was exploring uncharted territory.

Notably, Baym is not arguing for the elevation of the literature she explores to some form of “greatness”, rather she states: “I confess frankly that although I found much to interest me in these books, I have not unearthed a forgotten Jane Austen or George Eliot, or hit upon even one novel that I would propose to set alongside The Scarlett Letter.” Baym is simply arguing that the form is worthy of study and should not be relegated to the back corner of literary history in the United States.

Her ability to successfully argue that this literature is worthy of scholarly time and effort, while widely recognized now, was not guaranteed when this work was first published in 1978. Thus, Baym spends the opening chapters of Woman’s Fiction essentially attempting to justify the work’s existence. She explains that the novels she plans to examine have only ever been approached from either “a pre-feminist or antifeminist frame of mind” (16). Up until this time, critics had either dismissed these works as too feminine and sentimental, or conversely, applied to them a sort of “covert feminism” that may or may not be supported textually (18). Baym states that her own view “is that these novels represent a moderate, or limited, or pragmatic feminism, which is not in the least covert, but quite obvious, needing only to be assessed in mid-nineteenth century terms rather than those of a later century to be recognized for what it is” (18).

During the mid to late eighteenth century, Baym claims that “women were increasingly aware of their situations as gender determined and increasingly demanding of themselves and the world” (21). Whether the increase in women’s novels was a cause or outcome of this awareness, Baym is not ready to assert. She simply lays out the facts: that novels were being read in “unprecedented numbers” and that these novels told women something that “was most satisfying to hear” (21). When boiled down, Baym is simply stating that the mere existence of a dominating phenomenon of women novelists in the eighteenth is reason enough to warrant their study.

After spelling out her intentions, Baym moves on to a discussion of many of the novels written throughout the century (and some a bit before). She begins with the works of authors such as Catharine Sedgwick, Margaret Bayard Smith, Caroline Howard Gilman and more. For each work of each author, Baym provides a fairly detailed plot analysis, examining the role of women (and men) in the novel, the situation the heroines find themselves in, and the actions taken by the women to rise above their circumstances. Baym provides several accounts throughout this portion of her work, and they can become somewhat tedious and confusing as more emerge. After the third or fourth plot summary, readers may find themselves struggling to keep track of the individual plots due to the narrative similarities found in each of these novels.

Chapters three through nine follow a similar pattern in which Baym introduces authors, examines works by these authors, and explains how these works help to shape female or domestic identity in the culture of the time. Some of the authors she finds especially influential are Maria McIntosh, E.D.E.N. Southworth, Susan Warner, and Caroline Chesebro’, whom Baym refers to as “one of the most unusual writers of the 1850’s” (208).

In chapter ten, Baym explores the decline of “the novel of feminine trials and triumph”(276). She begins with a discussion of the novel St. Elmo by Augusta Evans, claiming that the novel represents the “most complex and most popular expression” of the female trial and triumph novel” (276). She compares the plot of St. Elmo with that of Evans’ later work, Vashti, which she claims to be “symptomatic of the end of a genre that had dominated American writing” (296). Baym marks the publication of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women as the beginning of the decline in woman’s fiction and the rise of girl’s fiction.Surveying almost a century’s worth of fiction is no small feat, but Baym not only succeeds in her mission, she excels.

Works Cited

Baym, Nina. Woman’s Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and about Women in America, 1820-1870. Ithica: Cornell University Press, 1978. Print.

Herman Melville in Digital Forms

Herman Melville is a colossal giant among literary figures. I have tried to find credible digital sources on his life and works. I have listed four as being primarily good resources or things that are being done in the digital humanities that should not be overlooked. Since Melville’s real credit and fame was granted to him in the early twentieth century, there are a few resources out there that can help put his works and life into perspective for any level of scholar.

The first digital database, “The Life and Works of Herman Melville,” has a good deal of biographical information, letters, and criticisms. However, the textual criticism could have been delved into a lot more. The site contains links to all of Melville’s works in electronic format for download. Also, it has links to Melville’s letters to Hawthorne, which are very important to understanding Melville’s financial stress and what he felt about his own work. There are links to different websites about 19th century writers as well. With that in mind, this is a good starting tool, but not a definitive way to do all of one’s research.

“Melville Electronic Library,” or “MEL,” is a database that has plans to be huge in scope. However, the website is not finished yet. What it does contain are some of the pages from “Billy Budd”—Melville’s posthumously published novella—which MEL hopes will soon turn out to be the manuscript in its entirety. Also, MEL is using a tool called TextLab to show the changes in the original manuscript. Any person can go and access a video that shows scholars using TextLab, to laymen, in order to show how they are working on “Billy Budd.” This database seems like it will be monumental in scope; however, at the current time there is only access to some gallery photos, a few pages of manuscript, and many other pages explaining what will be in that section of MEL when it is completed.

If one is just looking for the manuscript of Typee, there is a project at Virginia “Herman Melville’s Typee,” that gives a reader a look at the manuscripts. This, like MEL, is a vehicle by John Bryant. It must be accessed through an institution. Thus, the main “catch” is a person has to pay money for it. However, it is incredibly detailed and an excellent source to look at the actual manuscripts. The site contains four introductory essays by John Bryant about the making of the digital resource. It has two frames, which show the picture of each page of the manuscript and a bottom frame that allows the viewer to see what words are crossed out and omitted, or additions that were made. It is really great to have such a source that allows readers to have instant access to it. Before strides like this in digital humanities, one would literally have to go to the specific library that manuscript is in and look over it briefly.

The final database is American National Biography Online. The biography on Melville is well done. It goes through his early period in life—including his time aboard whaling vessels. However, it goes into great detail about each of his works. It also explains his relationship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and talks about their various correspondences. Also, the database has a comprehensive section on how Melville’s success was revived and the people that noticed his genius. What is very beneficial too, is that American National Biography Online also incorporates a bibliography with—what they believe—the most important sources for biography on Herman Melville. Unfortunately, this site is also only accessible through an institution as well. With that in mind, this is a really good source to get a good deal of information on Melville that will also lead a person to better ones.

In closing, there should be far more access to free websites on Melville. For example, a student going to Yale or Harvard has many more resources than a student at a smaller school. Thus, I have tried to provide what I can that is free to the public—the texts, letters, etc. When it comes to digital manuscripts and biographies, both of the aforementioned sites require payment or institutional access. I do think that “Melville Electronic Library” will end up being the most vital resource on this list if the website follows up on all its plans. However, “Herman Melville’s Typee” is probably the most fun and interesting of the four. One could play for hours looking at the manuscript and its translation.

Works Cited

American National Biography Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2013. <http://www.anb.org&gt;.

Melville Electronic Library. Hofstra University, n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2013.    <http://mel.hofstra.edu/&gt;.

Herman Melville’s Typee A Fluid Text Edition. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2013. <http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/melville/default.xqy&gt;.

The Life and Works of Herman Melville. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Aug. 2013. <http://www.melville.org&gt;.


Reflection on Walt Whitman’s Children of Adam Sequence

Walt Whitman’s “Children of Adam” series of poems is interesting to look at thematically because it is unlike many of Whitman’s other works.  In this sequence, Whitman writes to celebrate the human body and its sexuality, something that is not as obvious in his other works in comparison to “Children of Adam.”  As discussed in Whitman’s biography on The Walt Whitman Archive, Whitman reportedly did not intend for “Children of Adam” to “never separate from the body of the text, and he always set out not just to write about sensual embrace but also to enact the physical embrace of poet and reader. Whitman became a master of sexual politics, but his sexual politics were always intertwined with his textual politics” (Whitman Archive).  Emerson originally discouraged Whitman from publishing these poems in the 1860 version of Leaves of Grass because of its sexually explicit nature, saying that the subject matter of the collection was not appropriate for poetry.  Whitman, however, disagreed by saying that sexuality and the human body in its entirety – not just certain pieces and parts dubbed appropriate for public praise and examination – was most certainly a topic appropriate for poetry.  Whitman strongly felt “n my inmost brain and heart, when I only answer’d Emerson’s vehement arguments with silence, under the old elms of Boston Common” (Whitman Archive).  Despite the debate between Emerson and Whitman, “Children of Adam” also appeared along with the “Calamus” poems in the 1860 edition.

One thing that was striking about Whitman’s “Children of Adam” sequence was the range of emotion throughout the collection of fourteen poems.  Whitman’s speaker, who is believed to be the biblical Adam, experiences lust, romantic fondness, frustration, happiness, and infidelity at the cause of his own hands.  Speaker Adam walks the reader through the progression of human sexuality, starting with Adam’s acknowledgement of Eve and his first stirrings of feelings for her and ending with the realization of his mortality, even though he has fulfilled his role as the male progenitor of the human race.  The range of emotion is not as startling to me; it was the kinds of emotions that Adam displays that really stood out.  At the beginning of the poem, “To the Garden the World,” Adam’s emotions seem innocent enough – all he feels compelled to do is to walk with Eve.  In “A Woman Waits for Me,” the fourth poem in the sequence, Adam’s emotions have taken a noticeably aggressive and almost violent tone, to the point where it is possible readers could interpret the scene as rape in the name of perpetuating the human race.  By the time we get to “Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd,” the seventh poem in the sequence, Adam has become a parent and is back to a more contemplative state, realizing his mortality even though his children will live on.

Another striking aspect of the sequence is how transparent Whitman is with his bodily imagery.  In most of Whitman’s poetry, the sexual overtones that are present can be ignored if the reader refuses to acknowledge the presence of these overtones.  For readers of the “Children of Adam” poems, Adam’s sexuality, along with the sexuality of Eve and the other unnamed woman, is just a half layer below the surface.  It is deep enough that this is simply not a bunch of poems about sex, but close enough to the surface reading of the texts that readers, unless they have personal biases preventing them from fully engaging in the poems, cannot deny that it has a purpose in this collection of writings.  Personally, I found Whitman’s handling of sexual material to be appropriate for what he was trying to accomplish.  I was shocked at first and almost questioned if this was Whitman, especially in comparison to his poetry like “Song of Myself,” which is one of my favorite works by Whitman.

Whitman’s “Children of Adam” series is an interesting change of pace from his more canonical works.  Even though Emerson may have found this work shocking and possibly vulgar, Whitman’s biography states:

Leaves of Grass was not a book that set out to shock the reader so much as to merge with the reader and make him or her more aware of the body each reader inhabited, to convince us that the body and soul were conjoined and inseparable, just as Whitman’s ideas were embodied in words that had physical body in the ink and paper that readers held physically in their hands.  (Whitman Archive)

While the sexual overtones may be off-putting to some readers, I believe that this is a beautiful work that warrants being discussed along with Whitman’s more prominent sequences.

Works Cited

Folsom, Ed and Kenneth M. Price.  “Walt Whitman.”  The Walt Whitman Archive.  Web.

7 August 2013.

Whitman, Walt.  “Children of Adam.”  Leaves of Grass.  TS.  1860.  Web.  The Walt

Whitman Archive.  7 August 2013.

Reflective Essay on Digital Databases

Reflective Essay on Digital Databases

Using digital databases to research 19th century compilations of spirituals, works songs and abolition songs, I’ve made a number of discoveries about the distinct differences between print and electronic research, and ways of classifying digitized print sources. Burdick, Drucker, Lunenfield, Presner and Schnapp’s Digital Humanities guide’s overview of assessing digital sources explains, “the media and technologies in which intellectual work is realized matter as much as its content” (127). Thus, scholarship becomes more than simply the exchange and analysis of information. It, instead, expands to the appearance, interface and functionality of the website or database (127). In my own Wordpress blog entries, I have gained a firsthand understanding of the importance of this synthesis of technology and text.

When I talk to my students about ways of evaluating websites, one of the first things we check after sponsorship and corporation information is the site’s functionality. We ask the usual questions: Are there broken links? How does the site look? Does it work? Are there coding or loading issues? Over the last several weeks of using previously unfamiliar databases, the visual and explanatory elements of digital research have been a scholarly epiphany of sorts. Whereas I was previously content to use Kent State University Library’s “Choose Databases” features by hand-selecting the quality literary sources offered, I now understand the absolute limitations of that method. Most of the resources I found, and a number of others relating to early American Literature, were not among the options provided by the EBSCO-powered method.

My recent research relating to the use of slavery-era spirituals led me to 19th century author, William Wells Brown’s early compilation of abolition songs. In attempting to draw distinctions between the music of slavery and abolition, I added Brown’s novel of mixed-race enslavement, Clotel, to the scope of my research, and ultimately utilized these databases to aid in my understanding of 18th and 19th century racial categorizations and their use in the fiction of the era. The most helpful among the 15 or so I used are listed below:

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature: The database was useful for determining recent areas of William Wells Brown scholarship, which has steadily increased since 2004. In providing a through listing of recent articles primarily focused on Brown’s Clotel, the ABELL database’s results gave me the confidence to continue my research into the compilation of spirituals and abolition songs with the knowledge that the topic has been mostly ignored, and was, perhaps, worthy of additional scholarly consideration.

 Index to Black Periodicals Full Text. The Index to Black Periodicals was more useful for my research into the history and etymology of the 18th through early 20th century racial categories, “quadroon” and “octoroon,” than it was for researching spirituals and work songs. However, there were a number of clear limitations to the search engine, as the majority of articles relevant to my research were written after 1990. Perhaps this was the best I could expect for a periodical index concentrating on 20th century articles. Ultimately, this database seems most relevant to more recent African American scholarship. In terms of functionality, the search engine contained all of the expected keyword and subject modifiers, although the search by year was limited to 1900, which, initially, appeared to hinder some of my research into racial categorizations and their use in earlier American literature. After selecting the “Refine Search” option, I was returned to the main search page, but provided the same search modifiers as before, which effectively meant there were no distinctions between a basic and refined search.

 Music Index Online: Sponsored by EBSCO host, with its obvious limitations, this database required a number of search term modifications for me to glean meaningful results. In terms of these searches, I was better served by using “Negro” and “spirituals” rather than “slave spirituals” in order to obtain better results. Additionally, the search engine only allows users to search back to 1914, a limitation that may benefit a contemporary understanding of spirituals and works songs, but ultimately hinders an examination of older collections and compilations of the music.

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries: Ultimately, this database is more beneficial to educators or researchers seeking audio clips than for those doing traditional print research. The Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries database is a high quality teaching resource that provides lesson and teaching overviews for a variety of education levels. One unfortunate aspect of the database is the absence of a bibliography of print sources connected to the recorded works and sound clips; however, the vast collection of full songs based on Smithsonian Folkways collections allowed me to examine recordings of well-known, public domain spirituals without the obvious limitations of transcribed dialect.

Research is never complete, and in the world of digital inquiry, the path to expertise seems especially convoluted. Certainly the databases are valuable tools; however, gaining a solid understanding of which compilations are most beneficial for one’s particular interests is a time-consuming process or meticulous record keeping and organization. But this is true of any legitimate research. As my current research projects have expanded from the collection of spirituals through the function of the mixed-race female archetype in 19th century abolitionist literature, it seems evident that mastery of digital collections is the most thorough method of engaging in meaningful scholarship.

Works Cited

African American Newspapers. Readex, Web. 27 July 2013.

Annual Bibliography of English language and Literature. Modern Humanities Research Association. Web. 29 July 2013.

Burdick, Anne, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfield, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp. Digital Humanities. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2012. Print.

Index to Black Periodicals Full Text. Chadwyck Healey. Web. 30 July 2013.

Music Index Online. Ebsco Host. Web. 26 July 2013.

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries. Smithsonoain Folkways. Web 23 July 2013.

Ideology of superior identity in John Winthrop’s A Model of Christian Charity

In his sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity” aboard Arbella, John Winthrop introduces rhetorical grounds for the establishment of European colonies in the New World which would later emerge as the United States of America. For him and his Puritan assembly, this establishment was a holy, sacred mission combining the political and the religious with a self-conferred superiority of chosen people who reserve the historical right as well as the divine to the new lands. The Christian colony is presented and emphasized as one body which should be bonded with Christian love and charity. As this idea coheres the community together, it also lays out rules for strict conformity to be maintained even by coercion. The contradictions are apparent; the Puritans escaped from England because they found its religious laws coercive but they demanded conformity to their ideology. This rhetoric also established their identity as one kind of people different from the rest of the world. The identity became more pronounced in the face of threat from the outside, that is the Native Americans.

His famous metaphor of New England colony as “a city upon a hill,” suggests the superiority of the Europeans because of their identity as belonging to a particular church and race. Explicit is the idea that the Europeans have the divine right to colonize and rule others whom they consider inferior. Every humanly enterprise, colonization, trade, war, are guided by their theocracy. They had the same “special commission” that God gave to Saul to destroy Amaleck in the Old Testament. Hence, the Native people were heathens who deserved destruction and their land was the promised land reserved divinely for the chosen ones. Moreover of all the European colonies in North America, only theirs was the select, of Biblical importance on which people look for guidance. This idea is an extension of European nationalism which confers superiority on a particular nation simply by virtue of belonging.

Winthrop’s sermon has all the elements for the making of the ideology of colonialism, racism and nationalism which still informs American politics especially in America’s role as the example of democracy and freedom to the whole world.

The idea of predestination which Winthrop presents by explaining that the inequality in society is part of God’s plan where the rich learn to be charitable and the poor to be patient developed into the idea that America has the right to the riches of the world. Winthrop himself was an entrepreneur seeking wealth in the colonies and it was necessary to emphasize the importance of trade in the light of divine duty so that each person of one Christian body has the right to make wealth and then contribute it the public good as charity and to those who are less fortunate. Hard-work was a must for a fledgling society and hence, even the commonplace tasks of clearing land and building homes and barns become part of service to god. He makes his pronouncements binding by stating that the success of the colony depended on their unity and conformity. Any deviation from the injunctions he exhorts upon would spell destruction because it would be a deviance from the right path inviting damnation.

As the sermon addresses only the select few that comprised Winthrop’s group, without uttering any word he establishes that Native Americans did not merit any mention and they could be ignored as non-existent because they were enemies of their god and hence bereft of any rights. Civil rights ensued from divine rights which depended on certain group identity. Hence, religiosity, identity, and nationalism are tied together to create the ideology for a new nation.

Work Cited

Winthrop, J. “A Modell of Christian Charity.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter. Lexington, MA: DC Heath and Company, 1990. 191-199. Print.

The Logic in Lydia Maria Child’s An Appeal for the Indians

In the nineteenth century, the American expansion into the western frontier led to the destruction of the Indian way of life. The Indians were not only being murdered, but also their culture was being exterminated. Many abolitionists have appealed for social justice to Indians in either speeches or pamphlets delivering their account on Indian rights. In 1868, The Indian Peace Commission issued a report condemning white American’s annihilation of Indians for two centuries (214). However, this report was claimed to be promoting ‘a war of extermination against Indian culture” (214). In An Appeal for the Indians, Child responds to this report and calls for justice to Indians who underwent one of the worst genocides in their encounters with the settlers. Child’s thinking in this pamphlet astounds readers due to its logic, powerful ideas, and well-supported arguments.

 The report states, “Let polygamy be punished”(219). Child refutes this idea and espouses a new approach that advantages those who are not polygamists. She writes, “In this way, the fixed habit of many generations might be weakened” (219). Child makes a good argument when she reasons that force would not be the preeminent way to embrace. She adds, “Indians, like other human beings, are more easily led by the angel Attraction, than driven by the Demon Penalty” (220). Child proceeds to support this claim by negating another claim that “Indians are incapable of civilization”(220). Child believes that although Indian’s mode of warfare is ferocious; yet, it does not define them entirely. “All wars are barbarous to a shocking degree,” exclaims Child. Furthering this argument, Child brings historical element in her refutation. She writes, “If this proves incapacity for civilization, the Greeks and Romans were incapable of it; for they did the same” (220).

Child attempts in her appeal to show how Indians can be perceived by others. Clearly she writes, “Simply as younger members of the same great human family, who need to be protected, instructed and encouraged, till they are capable of appreciating and sharing all our advantages” (220). When reading these words, it becomes very evident that Child has an altruistic thinking to tell and humanitarian cause to advocate. A simple logic, Indians are humans like every one else. Hence, people have to get along even if one of them is less advanced. In this case,  help and support are given.

Then, Child wonders about the contradictions that reside between American religious beliefs and their actions. She argues that Indians would not embrace the teachings of Christianity because they do not see them applied. Child asks, “How could those simple people believe in a religion whose professors manifested no sense of justice or mercy toward them?”(222). At least Indians, as Child points out, have consistent beliefs. She writes, “ [Indians] profess to believe in revenge, and practice accordingly; whole we profess a religion of love and forgiveness, and do such things as these!” (223). Reading through such astute words appear to prove that Child has sound logic. Ostensibly, Child declares that Indians are as smart as others, but because they don’t share the same cultural traditions as others, they lack of civilization is attributed to them.

Works Cited

Child, Lydia Maria. Homomok & Other Writing on Indians. Ed. Carolyn L. Karcher. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press: 1986. Print.

Teaching Native Americans English: Hidden Motives and Ideology

Language defines people and the world people live in; therefore, when a new language is taught to someone, one’s cultural identity may slowly begin to change or grow as different languages convey different histories. This is often the case in post colonial countries where educational and religious systems are typically one of the first things colonizers develop while occupying and controlling a country because these things begin to change the culture as a whole. They use language, education, and religion to change people into the ‘new’ people they want them to be. This is also the case with the Native Americans as they were quickly taught English and how to read the Bible. While the agenda of the colonizers may not be clear, this change in language and religion was presumably done so to transmit religious ideology and to, quite simply, make them “civilized.”

One obvious reason for teaching Native American’s English was so that they could read the Bible and convert to Christianity. Child explains that Apostle Elliot, a Christian missionary among the towns in Boston, was successful in gathering congregations of Native Americans around town, even though it took him twenty-six years to start spreading this knowledge of God. Jennings believes that the missionaries weren’t all about God, but an attempt to get money from the Parliament. Elliot and Winslow, according to Jennings, presented an untruthful case that the colony was too poor and needed money to convert the Native Americans (207). Once they were awarded the money “the Company became a permanent center of activity for well-wishers of Massachusetts, enlisting the aid of wealthy and important people who thus became committed to active advocacy of the colony’s interest… the colonists even built ‘the grandest edifice’ of Harvard College with the money they were awarded by the Company for missionary use” (209). While we may never know today the true motives behind the colonists’ actions, Child states, “few [colonists] were engaged in this good work, multitudes were continually abusing and cheating the natives” (222). She gives the example of the camp of ‘the praying Indians’ called Wamesits located near the town called Clemsford. When a barn was burned down, the Wamesits were questioned and they thought because of their Christian values they would be safe, but they were instead fired at and their wigwams were set on fire (222). This is very different from what the “Appeal for the Indians” advocates for as it states, “By educating their children in the English language, these differences would have disappeared, and civilization would have followed. Nothing would then have been left but the antipathy of race; and that, too, is always softened in the beams of higher civilization” (219). Even once the Native Americans used the English language and had the same religion as the colonists, they were still engaged in continual violence with one another.

This idea of language and culture is still prevalent today. Lyons explains how Luther Standing Bear remembers the first time they were introduced to the idea European implements of writing, but how this technology was then quickly used to change them.  He quotes Bear as he explains the situation of the teachers saying, “‘do you see all these marks on the blackboard? Well, each word is a white man’s name. They are going to give each one of you one of these names by which you will hereafter be known’” (448). Lyons explains that this shows “the development of education designed to promote the eradication of all traces of tribal identity and culture, replacing them with the commonplace knowledge and values of white civilization” (336, 335). According to Lyons, what these Native Americans want is rhetorical sovereignty, “the inherent right and ability of peoples to determine their own communicative needs and desires in this pursuit,” (449) not be changed culturally. By learning English, they can communicate and participate in the English community, but this does not mean that they want or have a need to change who they are as a culture or society.

While some people believe America to be a place where one can come to practice any religion and to speak any language, many others would argue that with our educational and religious systems, the underling goal is to make everyone the same as they are meant to force ideological views onto people. In all colonized countries, the first thing the colonizers do is change the people’s religious and educational structures to resemble theirs; to ‘civilize’ them. They use the word ‘civilized’ to mean ‘like us’ or ‘better,’ when in reality, these people’s cultures and lives functioned perfectly the way they were. The Native Americans didn’t need to learn English or Christianity to be ‘civilized,’ though it may have been necessary for better communication to know and understand English.  I would argue that the hidden motives of the colonizers were to change the Native Americans and to make them more like the colonizers.

Works Cited

Child, Lydia Maria. Homomok & Other Writing on Indians. Ed. Carolyn L. Karcher. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press: 1986. Print.

Jennings, Francis. “Goals and Functions of Puritan Missions to the Indians.” Ethnohistory 18.3 (1971): 197-212. JSTOR. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.

Lyons, Scott Richard. “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What do American Indians Want from Writing?” College Composition and Communication 51.3 (2000): 447-68. JSTOR. Web. 1 Aug 2013.