The Clash of Cultures

For the first assignment, please write a four (or more) page paper (four full pages is the minimum), choosing one of the topic suggestions listed below. Everything in the paper should be double space with no extra spaces between paragraphs.  
Your paper should have a meaningful title and should be organized around a thesis or point of view.  Take your time, organize your information and your thinking, write and, if necessary, rewrite. 

You must quote at least twice from the Rowlandson book and from at least three of the readings I have provided to support, develop, and illustrate your claims. Please give the Remove number when quoting Rowlandson and the page # when quoting the readings.
Please submit your essay on Blackboard.
If you need any advice or assistance, email me. If you want me to look at a draft of your essay, email it to me as a Word document and I will get it back to within 24 hours. If you are unhappy with the grade you receive, I will allow you to rewrite your paper but only after you first speak with me about it.
What I will be looking for when grading the essays.
• The depth and quality of your understanding of the subject matter.
• The organization of your thinking around a point of view or thesis.
• Your ability to choose significant passages from the readings to support, develop, and illustrate your thinking

Topic Suggestions

[S]o none can imagine, what it is to be captivated, and enslaved to such Atheistical, proud, wild, cruel, barbarous, brutish, (in one word) diabolical Creatures as these, the worst of the heathen....” (Mather Preface to Rowlandson)
Then the old Squaw told me, to encourage me, that if I wanted victuals, I should come to her, and that I should ly there in her Wigwam. Then I went with the maid, and quickly came again and lodged there. The Squaw laid a mat under me, and a good Rugg over me; the first time I had any such kindness shewed me. (Rowlandson)
“But now our perverse and evil carriages in the sight of the Lord, have so offended him, that instead of turning his hand against them, the Lord feeds and nourishes them up to be a scourge to the whole Land. (Rowlandson)
“for we must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; . . . ” (Winthrop)

 Religion and Ethnocentrism (and perhaps a nascent racism). There is a disjunction between Mrs. Rowlandson’s “official,” Puritan thoughts about the Natives and her comments on some of their actions, especially the kindness often shown to her by her captors. Some have claimed that Rowlandson changed her view of Native Americans, though I doubt it. How did her Puritan preconceptions, prejudices, and/or presuppositions (especially her religious views) about the Natives predispose her to certain interpretations of their actions toward her? Give examples from the texts (for example, from Rowlandson, Bailyn, Wallace, Taylor, Winthrop, Bradstreet, Morgan) to support, develop, and illustrate your claims.

…war is perhaps best understood as a violent contest for territory, resources, and political allegiances, and, no less fiercely, a contest for meaning. (Lepore x)
Not all colonists agreed about the causes of war, or about how it should be waged, but most agreed about what was at stake: their lives, their land, and their sense of themselves.  And, in the end, their writings proved to be pivotal to their victory, a victory that drew new, firmer boundaries between English and Indian people, between English and Indian land, and between what it meant to be “English” and what it meant to be “Indian.”  (Lepore xiii)
The lasting legacy of Mrs. Rowlandson’s dramatic, eloquent, and fantastically popular narrative of captivity and redemption is the nearly complete veil it has unwittingly thrown over the experiences of bondage endured by Algonquian Indians during King Philip’s War.  (Lepore 126)

Indeed, the indigenous peoples served as a convenient “other” against whom the Puritans could construct, and “prove” through difference, their colonial identities. (Faery 25)

 Religion and Ethnocentrism bis. Discuss Mrs. Rowlandson’s thinking in the Twentieth Remove, from the five “remarkable passages of providence” on page 43 of the pdf to the end. What do these passages show us about Puritan thinking about the Native Americans? Discuss how the Natives are portrayed as “others” in the narrative and how elements of “Indianness” perhaps should have worked against that portrayal. Discuss how these “new, firmer boundaries. . . between what it meant to be ‘English’ and what it meant to be ‘Indian’” are drawn in Rowlandson’s narrative (and in the readings) and how this “contest for meaning” is presented. How has it “unwittingly thrown the veil” over her experiences? What part do her religious views play in drawing the veil? What has been veiled? Why? (Rowlandson, Bailyn, Wallace, Taylor, Morgan, Winthrop, Lepore, Faery)

“Another was Weetimore, with whom I had lived and served all this while: A severe and proud Dame she was, bestowing every day in dressing herself neat as much time as any of the Gentry of the land . . . “ (Rowlandson)
“That night they bade me go out of the Wigwam again: my Mistresses Papoos was sick and it died that night, and there was one benefit in it, that there was more room.” (Rowlandson)
“The woman’s own choice makes such a man her husband; yet being so chosen he is her lord, and she is to be subject to him, yet in a way of liberty not of bondage; . . . “ (Winthrop)
“No sooner came but gone, and fall’n asleep, /Acquaintance short, yet parting cause us weep;” (Bradstreet)

 Family, Gender, Everyday Life. Native American societies were very different from Puritan (English) society. Rowlandson gives many descriptions of Native life. She details her contentious relationship with Weetamoo and her harmonious relationship with Quinnapin. Discuss the differences between English and Native societies and how this affected the English view of the Natives. (Rowlandson, Taylor, Morgan, Bradstreet, Winthrop, Wallace, Bailyn).

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