Forced Assimilation


Phebe Gibbes Hartly House, Calcutta (1789) is filled with english literary references from the likes of  Dryden, Milton, Pope, Shakespeare, and many more English authors. Gibbs’s quotes Pope’s “An Essay on Man: Epistle I” to justify and articulate the forced assimilation that the native Indians went through. Pope states that,

For me the mine a thousand treasures brings;

For me health gushes from a thousand springs;

Seas roll to Wait me, suns to light me rise;

My footstool earth, my canopy the skies.

Sophia, language and tone does not match the reality of this example of the British imperialism. Sophia makes it seem that the natives we dying to read English colonialism literature. For example, Sophia states that “from all i have already seen and heard, that numbers of them are proud enough to believe, and apply to themselves, the poet’s language.” (Gibbes 48) Sophia is so naive that she actually believes that these people are studying british literature because they want to not because they are being forced to. A majority of these natives do not have there own free will, they are in servitude to the colonialists. Sophia fails to realize that whatever these british colonist tell their native servants to do they will do regardless if they actually would have done it with being ordered too.

The language and tone that Sophia uses in these section illustrates her disillusionment. She fails to realize that the british involvement in India is purely for monetary advancement, and these colonists will do anything and say anything to justify it. Shes describes this assimilation as “both human and divine” her choice to use the term divine masks this assimilation. The use of religious terminology escalates the native indian’s forced assimilation into British Culture.
-Conor Morgan

3 thoughts on “Forced Assimilation

  1. Your ideas on the disillusionment that the literary references reveal is really interesting. I like how you recognize the function and sort of meta-narrative that is revealed. I think I would suggest further exploring the delusion that Sophia experiences. What exactly is her reality and her illusion and what comes of being disillusioned?

    Thanks for your great blog!


  2. The main point is, “Sophia, language and tone does not match the reality of this example of the British imperialism.” I think you could improve the post by finding an alternate way of reading the poem’s excerpt. It was slightly difficult to read as it is.

    Extra Credit 8/25/2


  3. I think the most original part of this post was its reference to assimilation of language and how that affects a group of people. I think as an improvement I would add more evidence to your religious claim. Religion generally comes with languages, but is it really an accelerant when there are translations available?


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