moorheac


After reading poems by both Anne Bradstreet and Juana Ines de la Cruz, I was intrigued by the differences in the writings about the same subject. Bradstreet and Cruz, both early American women poets, discuss the relationships between men and women in society, and focus especially on men and the belief they should have all control over women. Bradstreet, a writer in the British colonies, wrote according to her place in society. Bradstreet knew her place in society, but as an educated woman she also knew that men’s domination over women was not fair and not right. Through her poetry she reveals her feelings on the matter. Cruz, like Bradstreet, also felt negatively on men’s actions to women and the traditional belief of men’s superiority over women. In her poetry, Anne Bradstreet, subtley points out being bothered by the matter. For instance, in her poem “The Prologue,” she throws out many comments stating how she is a woman, which means she is weak in the brain and lacks intelligence. Although, she continually emphasizes on her place in society, in her fifth stanza she talks about how someone has control over her, and how she despises men’s belief on how women should not be able to write. In her writing, Cruz is much more open with her feelings on men. She opens her “Poem 92” with the line “ You foolish and unreasoning men who cast all blame on women.” Cruz lived in colonial Mexico, so the difference in how Cruz and Bradstreet professed their feelings on men shows difference in the two American cultures. In the British colonies, women were forced to follow the common belief that men were above women. In Mexico, opinions were more common and allowed.

In Zuckerman’s “Identity in British America,” he focuses on the racism in British America. He discusses the hatred felt by the English toward the Natives. His points of how the “colonists glorified God for the deaths by European disease that decimated the Indians” and how “the first settlers never intended to have Indians among them, except as slaves,” demonstrate their harsh feelings toward the Indians. The English in no way wanted the colonists to even have contact with the Indians. Zuckerman emphasizes on this idea when he mentions how “they forbade absence from their plantations without permission. They prescribed punishments even unto death for flight to the natives…Thus the colonies of Great Britain, unlike those of all other European nations in the New World, refused to accommodate men who mixed with the natives or embraced their ways in any measure.” I found it interesting when he went on to talk about how the British refused any type of interracial marriage with the Indians, something that occurred in the other European colonies. Something that really stood out to me was when Zuckerman used the phrase “genocidal rage” to describe the British feelings about the Indians. I think it was especially strong because my immediate thought was the holocaust and the distain the Germans felt toward the Jews. I like when Zuckerman was comparing African and Indian slaves, and how the Indians resulted to “either hang(ing) themselves of run(ning) away.” Also, how the African slaves did not have options like the Indian slaves because they were not on familiar “terrain.” I thought the conclusion to Zuckerman’s piece was very helpful in pulling together the early British colonial culture, and also it was interesting to see how the other European colonies were more open and accepting of the Indians.

The introduction of John Smith’s recount of his time in the middle Atlantic mentions how he thought of the Natives as inferior. That line stood out to me because of the continuous class discussions we have had about the Europeans considering the Natives to be below them. John Smith’s reading is interesting because, although he thinks of the Europeans as inferior, their actions prove them to be just as smart as him and powerful as well. On page 199 Smith describes his harsh tactics towards the Natives to take their food, and how they responded by attempting to protect themselves with weapons. This caused me to think of two other readings. The first was Cabeza De Vaca and when he discussed how he and his men approached the Natives with kindness, and in return their lives were saved. Then I thought of Thomas Harriot and when he used certain words when describing the Natives weapons in order to show their inferiority, like stick bark and string. Although the Natives do not defeat Smith and his men, Smith describes the Native’s weaponry using the words clubs, targets, bows and arrow, and earlier discusses how they had “chaines (and)… copper” in form on weaponry. Smith’s descriptions of the Native’s weapons show they were more technologically advanced, even though that is not what he was trying to do. Smith’s conception of the Natives being inferior to him is proved wrong on page 200 when he is a prisoner of Natives, and his life is in their hands. Smith tries to lure the Natives in by showing them a compass, even though they are mesmerized with the compass, they still continue to keep him as a prisoner, putting him below them. I think Smith’s depictions of his contact with the Natives are important because they continued to bring up previous themes we have talked about all year.

Next Page »