Gulliver’s College Travels

The herd of cows ambushed me from the parking lot and pushed my car through the parking lot and. Eventually, I was left alone on what at first seemed to be the uncharted plains of the Vernal Pools Reserve, considering there was not a single trail to be seen for miles. As I paced the tall grasses, I heard several soft popping sounds and a gust of warm wind.

Turning back, I saw a peculiar specimen, a horrendous breed both in physical appearance and etiquette. He was not an upright individual but instead his body bent backwards. So far did it go back that his head was stuck in his anus. Because of this position their vision was compromised and their eyes evolved to sit atop their waist. Similarly, their speech was also impeded and had to communicate through their rears. Every word they uttered was followed by the release of a flatulence, which was not just a release of breath but a genuine fart that smelled of fecal matter and Pavilion burritos.

“I… am… Butkus,” said the Creature. “Who… are… you?” I responded with my name and, the name of my school; I was certain he would recognize the innovation and prestige of “University of California, UC Merced.” The school is after all the youngest university and beacon that will lead the future to success— what with students like me.

The Creature stood still in front of me, his eyes looked up from his groin area where they were located. I asked him if he had heard of the school’s but not even the lightest toot escaped his body. I found it preposterous someone, would be so ignorant as to not know of UC UC Merced and proceeded to educate Butkus on my university.

I began by explaining the diversity of courses we students are required to take and the abundance of knowledge we take in. I couldn’t finish my lecture without mentioning the student body and the campus’ expansion; I gave detail on the new housing buildings, parking area, dining center, and downtown administrative building where the chancellor makes decisions.

Butkus didn’t express the same enthusiasm and apologized for not seeing the greatness of the institution. He admitted he was confused on the practices I described. In regards to the course requirements, Butkus said he did not see the point of students exhausting their intellect on classes that did not align with the future they hoped to pursue. If the students were to lead the future to success, as I had said, and have already selected their path, then he would imagine attention would be given to developing the specialized skills necessary in their desired field, rather than worrying about performing well in a course whose teachings won’t be utilized by them. Butkus argued the yearly influxes of students, and that the overall manner the university was developing, was a disservice to the existing student body already had enough trouble enrolling in necessary courses. The sights of the university’s highest leaders seem to be set on the completion of infrastructure and accumulation of paying students, instead of investing knowledgeable personnel that can resolve student’s educational and mental concerns— and not look out for their own professional interests. I would never dare repeat in either speech or print the insulting words Butkus evacuated from his rear, especially to a university-educated on my level of intellect.

I would not stand for the slander he uttered against my school and myself. I proclaimed that he has not experienced the and, therefore, has no authority to reason that it is a poor system. He turned his bent back to me replied with his usual flatulence, “Neither do your representatives if they experience the university from the comfort of the administrative offices everyday— away from you and your concerns. I may have my head up my arse, but they are the ones who are full of shit.”

 

Review:

For my creative writing post, I decided to do an imitation of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels that satirizes the effects of a poor administration on a university University heads don’t always cater to the needs of their students as they advertise they do. I admired the way Swift wove his criticism of the English into his work in a fairly discrete manner. To achieve the same effect, I tried to use the same irony and outlandishness scenarios. The encounter between Butkus and proud college Gulliver, for example, is a replication of the scene in the novel where the king of Brobdingnag questions the efficacy of the English government. In my rendition, I use the narration like Swift, where Gulliver reports through his voice what was said by the other character and creates a distance between the criticism and himself. He becomes an ultimately unreliable, unaware narrator that doesn’t realize he is bringing to the attention of the reader he vowed not to repeat. Butkus’ physical appearance, along with his reasoning for looking down at the university system, serves as irony to point out the idiocy of  administrative staff who try to ignore real issues altogether. Butkus may literally have his head up his rear and lacks experience in higher education, but, despite this, he is still able to see the flaws and negligence done by the university heads. It is the administration who has their heads up their behinds because they do not realize the exist of these issues, or refuse to address because they have another agenda to fulfill. Gulliver’s lack of awareness, although he boasts of his intellect and the knowledge he gained from attending university, is a product of the mismanaged and corrupted system as a result. Despite this creative piece being centered around UC Merced, I think this piece, like Swift’s novel, can be applied to any form of leadership, whether social or political; an interest in advancing a person’s own agenda and ignoring, or being oblivious to, the needs of people they are suppose to look out for is not limited to the scenario I presented.

-Wendy Gutierrez

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The Final Chord in “Dear Harp of my Country”

Thomas Moore’s “Dear Harp of my Country” laments the English’s control over Ireland by paralleling it with the decline in prominence of the Irish harp. Starting in the eighteenth century, the “Irish harp tradition was increasingly regarded as a dying tradition” (O’ Donnell 1). Thus, when Moore says “farewell to thy [the harp] numbers/ This sweet wreath of song is the last we shall twine” (Moore 146.10-1), he is speaking in literal terms and hints at the slow demise of the Irish harp as the number of harpers decreases. However, this is also a comment on the state of the Irish at the time that were being subjugated to English rule, considering that the harp is a prominent symbol of Irish nationalism. With the decline of the harp, whose songs maintain the pulse of the Irish, also comes the deterioration of the Irish people.

Moore seems to equate the harp with a beating heart that sustains life. When he declares, “Dear Harp of my Country! in darkness I found thee” (Moore 145.1), he does not just refer to the physical harp but also the sounds of the instrument, which is representative of the voices of his countrymen. Just as the soft music of the harp would be able direct Moore in literal darkness, the sound also helps him and his people persist through the gloom English conquest has brought onto their land. Moore goes on to further elevate the harp by saying, “If the pulse of the patriot, soldier, or lover,/ Have throbb’d at our lay, ‘tis thy glory alone;/ I was but as the wind, passing heedlessly over,/ And all the wild sweetness I wak’d was thy own (156. 14-7). The determination of “the patriot, soldier, or lover” do not occur naturally, neither are these people what create the “wild sweetness” of the harp strums or preserve Ireland. It is the empowerment the Irish receive from the harp, which holds powerful associations, that keeps their nationalism and hope for a better Ireland alive. If the harping tradition is silenced, the Irish will lose a major remnant of an old Ireland, separate from Great Britain, and will not have the strength to fight for the autonomy of their country.

-Wendy Gutierrez

Visalia, 2019

(An imitation of William Blake’s “London”)

I step into the ruined street,

Where wealth of labor does not reach.

Sown in every face I meet,

Exhausted eyes, tears in each.

 

Every bit of fertile soil,

Every fruit in every neat row,

Every inch touched by their toil,

Echos the pain of those below.

 

How the harvests fill bellies high

Every landowner’s pockets lined,

And the blood of workers lie

On the earth with bodies dried.

 

From these adjacent rows I hear

Whirling bills in wealthy hands

In Wonderful homes so dear

Far from the dead that work their lands.

-Wendy Gutierrez

Escaping Into the Sunset

The disregard of death in William Wordsworth’s “Lines Written Near Richmond, Upon the Thames, At Evening” demonstrates how this ballad is a prime example of the escape from human life the Romantics found in the natural world. The significance of the ballad can best be represented by Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “The Monk by the Sea”

The ballad is about how a “youthful bard” (I. Wordsworth 9), or poet, admires the setting Sun over the Thames River and how he is “heedless of the following gloom” (10) . He is so captivated by the beauty of the scene that he does not acknowledge the impending doom that the day and he, like other humans, will meet. He is so in awe of the scene that “He deems their colours shall endure (11). His reasons for this are the following, as expressed by the speaker.

“–And let him nurse his fond deceit,
And what if he must die in sorrow!
Who would not cherish dreams so sweet,
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow?” (13-6)

While the poet’s focus on doesn’t let him see the bigger picture, he doesn’t care and is rather happy with his ignorance. He might be deceiving himself by believing this scenery will always be there for people to admire, since everyone must die and no longer take in the view, but he would rather die happy with this image in his mind than worry about the pain death has prepared for him, when the time comes. By doing so, the poet escapes the treachery surrounding the concept of death and forgets the fear associated with it.

The poet also gives importance to the scenery because its preservation is crucial to the preservation of the general Romantic poet.

“Glide gently, thus forever glide,
O Thames! That other bards may see
As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair river! come to me.
Oh glide, fair stream! for ever so;
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
’Till all our minds for ever flow,
As thy deep waters now are flowing” (17-24)

The poet calls to the river to continue existing and maintain its beauty so other poets can view such a scenery as he is experiencing at the moment. If the peaceful river continues to flow, the minds of poets will also flow with ideas for poems and more poetry will be produced. This fragment of the natural world “bestows” upon poets the necessary emotions to move them and be able to create art. The poem goes on to say:

“That in thy water may be seen
The image of the poet’s heart,
How bright, how solemn, how serene!” (26-8)

This means that the poet is inseparable from this location and he belongs the. The river has all the soothing qualities that helps such poets craft their work, and seek “refuge from [the] distress” (31) of their daily lives.

Despite the ecstasy the poet is in and the beauty of the nature present, death is still present. In the very beginning, a boat is seen floating into the sunset.

“While, facing thus the crimson west
The boat her silent path pursues!
And see how dark the backward stream” (4-6).

Sunsets brings the day to an end, just as how death brings a person’s life to an end. Therefore, since the boat is facing the sunset and moving towards it, just as the poet also looks at the Sun right “in front” (1) of him, the boat and the poet are confronted with the end, or death and face it head on. The “dark…backward stream,” which are the ripples the boat leaves behind as it moves forward, is “dark” because the east, where the boat is coming from, is getting darker as the sun sinks on the west side. More importantly, the darkness follows the boat Similarly the poet’s hopes that the light of the sunset will continue are crushed and the daylight meets its end as “The evening darkness gathers round” (39). Night begins to settle, swallowing any light that gives life to the Thames River and the poet.

In terms of what I thought was “missing” from the piece was the presence of a person on the boat. Wordsworth didn’t really give indication that the boat floating towards the sunset with “oar[s] suspended” (34) was being steered by anyone. I know that when writing about scenery, Romantics focused on its natural components and isolated nature from human society and influence. The absence of a rower may be a result of this move to ignore all that is human and center the poem around nature instead. If the boat is unmanned, however, it can represent how people turn into nothing as they approach their end; their souls simply drift away. Either way, human existence is seen as insignificant in both and the same distress the Romantics tried to avoid in their life and works is communicated in this lyrical ballad.

Based on my reading of the ballad, I ultimately decided that Caspar David Friedrich’s “The Monk by the Sea” best reflected the ballad as a painting. While Théodore Gericault’s “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct” did have a better sunset, I think Friedrich’s painting embodied more of the emotions expressed in the ballad, and which were common in Romantic poetry. The Romantics, like the poet in this ballad depict being in nature almost like a religious experience. The monk in the painting represents the poet and Romantics reflecting on the nature in front of them and having an awakening. The monk’s solitude on the landscape I found connected to the poet’s state of contemplation and of the loneliness that awaits. Whether there are any other people around or not, the poet views the sunset over the Thames as a very individual, focused experience. In both the painting and the ballad, it is just a man and nature. The monk’s loneliness is also reminiscent of the boat on the water, which was all alone in the middle of a large, magnificent view, as is the case here. Although there is no vibrant sunset like the one described in the ballad, you can see a faint orange in the clouds. It gives a more pessimistic, but realistic, perspective of the ballad. While the poet escapes from the death that surrounds him by focusing on beauty, the painting centers the gloom and shows how it’s inescapable. People can escape to nature and escape from the fear of death, but they cannot escape death.

-Wendy Gutierrez

Navigating Dangerous Waters

Despite being in a non-traditional form, Iron Maiden’s heavy metal rendition of Samuel Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is an excellent example Romantic poetry. The song contains a number of elements found in the literary genre, including a focus on nature and expression of vivid emotions. Together these components help the musical piece elevate Coleridge’s ballad and help convey the magnitude of nature and the magnificence of its sheer power.

The aspects of both versions of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” help the reader acknowledge with the Mariner the power the sea, and nature in general, have over living beings. One of the characteristics of Romantic poetry is “[a] deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature.” The Romantics distanced themselves of the artificiality of the cities and looked towards landscapes as refuges where they could take in in its purest, untouched form. While one might be drawn to the aesthetic and serene qualities natural environments may possess, nature’s less soothing aspects can also be classified as a natural beauty. Deadly weather and dangerous creatures tends to lose people’s attention because of the danger associated with them. However, this treachery does have a degree of beauty when you consider its ability be done by the natural world alone, although sometimes influenced by human interference. Just as nature has the capacity to be beautiful and create landscapes that move writers of the Romantic Period with wonder, nature also has the capacity to be twisted and release a vengeance onto humans who enter into it. The power and aggression of latter also moves and causes amazement, though not the most pleasant, and are worthy grounds for a Romantic poem like Coleridge’s.

William Wordsworth defines Romantic poetry by “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” it contains. Coleridge’s poem brings up such feelings through its descriptions of the sea and the events that unfold in the ballad. Such is the case in the following quotation that reads:

“slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The Death-fires danc’d at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green and blue and white” (IV. 121-6)

The Mariner describes the appearance of the ocean in rather unpleasant terms, very different from romantic or idealized peaceful waves. The Mariner compares it to a witch’s brew filled with a variety of creatures that could end the lives of any mortal. At the same time, it admires how the sea can be hospitable to such magnificently, wicked creatures. Coleridge’s description demonstrates, like other environments, how the sea can mean life for some but also death for others.

Iron Maiden establishes identical imagery by incorporating exact portions of the Coleridge ballad into their song. The following is an example of it:

“Day after day, day after day
We stuck ne breath ne motion
As idle as a painted ship
upon a painted ocean

Water, water every where
And all the boards did shrink
Water, water every where
ne any drop to drink” (VIII. 111-8)

Maiden’s decision to copy of Coleridge’s text verbatim, like the quotation above, help the song maintain the imagery described in the text while also keeping the story exactly as the Mariner may tell it, since he has likely told his tale countless times because of his curse. By doing so, the heavy metal version of the lyrical ballad is just another recounting from the Mariner himself.

And the curse goes on and on at sea
And the curse goes on and on for them and me

The repetition of “on and on” in this stanza, like the repetition of “water” and “day after day” in the previously mentioned stanza, helps convey the frustration and desperation of the Mariner, who had to traverse through miles of dangerous nature and see unimaginable sights. This portion of the lyrics indicates to the listener that the Mariner had to continue to go through more of these misfortunes during his voyage. Similarly, the repetition in both works shows how the story of the Mariner is told on and on and the Mariner experiences the voyage again, and how doing so is a mark of the impact the natural world left on him.

In contrast to the poem, the metal band also conveys fear and original poem’s eerie tone in their music. For most of the song, there is a persistent guitar riff that thunders in the background of the song, reminiscent of a ship confidently rushing forwards through harsh waves, ready to take on anything. This riff and the rhythm of the other instruments shifts once the Mariner comes face to face with Death and Life in Death, who are the consequences of his interference with nature when he killed the albatross. It is silenced then only a few guitar wails can be heard from time to time for roughly two minutes, imitating, in my opinion, “ocean sounds” like whale bellows and the slow swaying of waves. Alone these noises would be soothing to listen to. However, in the context the Mariner is in, all alone in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of dead mates, this beautiful noise is sign of uncertainty and possible danger. This shift is an excellent, chilling transition between the point where the Mariner meets the two figures on the ghost ship and his crew is reanimated. It makes the listener anxious as to what will happen next, just like the Mariner must have been while being cradled by the beautiful but treacherous ocean.

-Wendy Gutierrez

Leaps of Fate

The following quote from Paradise Lost, which Equiano includes The Interesting Narrative (99), is from when Satan and his legion of fallen angels are thrown into Hell and are astounded by its conditions, which they now must live in.

With shudd’ring horror pale, and eyes aghast
They view their lamentable lot, and find
No rest!

Milton, Paradise Lost, 2.616-18

This quote is inserted into Equiano’s text during an instance where Equiano recounts the mistreatment, from from whippings and branding, he saw slaves endure. He also mentions how many slaves preferred to commit suicide than live and be slaves. Thus, Equiano uses the quote as a parallel to the usual life of African slaves. This also demonstrates the only manner in which these individuals can get the upper hand, although fatal.

The “lamentable lot” of Africans foresee their, and are understandably fearful, of the grueling labor and living conditions with “[n]o rest” that lies ahead of them as slaves. A similar miserable fate awaits Satan and his fellow demons as they are thrown into the depths of Hell. However, the Satan decided to seek revenge on God for reducing them to this life, by tainting the human world with sin and sending them to damnation. If they couldn’t live in paradise, the demons would make the lives harder on their counterparts and gain some control of their situations. Similarly, the slaves seek to undermine the power of the traders and owners who decided the fates of these Africans, as if they were God. Although suicide means ending their lives, and was more than likely a difficult decision for these slaves to come to, they don’t give their captors the satisfaction of abusing their bodies and utilizing them as money-making machines. They at least get to decide their future and achieve rest.

Equiano’s inclusion of quotes from Paradise Lost, among other English works and the Bible, demonstrates his comprehension of the English language, not just his ability to read or write it, but also in his understanding and application of literary techniques, like the use of intertextual references. By incorporating the quote from Milton’s piece, Equiano demonstrates the complexities of English language and literature and adds layers of meaning to his own work. In doing so, Equiano demonstrates to English readers he is as much of an authority on their language as they are—and shows he has the power to control it for his own text and life experiences just as them.

– Wendy Gutierrez

Plagiarism and Stunted Thought

Image #1 represents the ignorance and “dullness” Alexander Pope expressed in The Dunciad, Book 4 some writers, specifically those that spoke negatively of his works, possessed. I believe the following lines, where the Goddess of Dulness tells her followers to destroy the legacies of established authors, reflect this claim:

“And you, my Critics! in the checquer’d shade,

Admire new light thro’ holes yourselves have made.       

Leave not a foot of verse, a foot of stone,

A Page, a Grave, that they can call their own;

But spread, my sons, your glory thin or thick,

On passive paper, or solid brick” (VI. 125-130).

In criticizing the works of others, authors, especially those not as recognized, are able to be a part of the discourse by entering through the “holes” they made for themselves. The ideas and theories of the authors that are being scrutinized are no longer the property of the original author, but the critic obtains a bit of ownership in their contribution to the situation. In this manner, the critic leaves their mark on the texts, or “verses” and “page[s],” and memorials, such as “stone” statues or “grave[s],” of an author before them, instead of coming up with a completely authentic idea.

As was discussed in the Lecture Notes, Pope’s mock-epic targeted plagiarists, among other “dull” writers and critics. Based on my reading of The Dunciad, Book 4, I considered plagiarists to extend to critics and academics who attempt to insert themselves into the dialogue of others. I found this expressed in the above image as writer Colley Cibber interrupts Pope’s sexual encounter with a woman. Cibber inserts himself into the situation, in the midst of Pope’s work, and directs the viewer to areas Pope is lacking in, such as penis size and in his evaluation of the situation. Cibben contributes to the scene by pointing out Pope could get a venereal disease from the woman, which could potentially cause illness or death that would prevent him from translating Homer’s work (Lecture Notes 5). As a result, Cibber is credited with being an author of this scene and makes his “hole” which Edward Rich looks through.

The caption to this engraving further adds to Cibber’s involvement as it reads “How much had British Poetry to fear/ Till ’twas retriev’d by Colley’s kindly Care/ What Greater Good from Cibber cou’d we hope/ Who gave us Homer by his saving Pope?” (Image #1). Cibber’s insertion leaves such a mark on the event, and Pope by association, that he is exulted and indicated as the catalyst that allowed for Pope’s translations of Homer’s Iliad to exist. This scene becomes as much about Cibber as it is Pope, and what was supposed to be his night. Critics put in a fraction of the effort as the original authors do to concoct the texts the former’s criticism is dependent on. The “dullness” Pope sees in these works lie in their lack of sufficient originality. Thus, when these interpretations are taught in academia, as Pope discusses throughout his piece, this “dullness” is enforced. This fails to show haughty scholars how enlightened reasoning doesn’t mean authentic thought.

Although possibly written as a defense against the bullying he received from other writers, it demonstrates, Pope’s The Dunciad, Book 4 conveys a disdain for plagiarists, as well as academia for promoting these “dull” ideas in its teachings. If it weren’t for Pope’s work that Cibber’s criticizes for his benefit, Cibber’s “third-rate” behind would be even more of a nobody. This perspective gives a new view of the image, demonstrating how Colley Cibber is the one who is lacking– at least intellectually.

-Wendy Gutierrez

 

He Said, He Said

With the use of irony and testimonial accounts, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels satirizes the correctness of English society and values Mary Rowlandson holds throughout her captivity narrative. In doing so, Swift is able to insult the English government through his characters’ voices and detach himself from the comments written.

In the paragraph beginning with “He then desired to know…” (120), found in Chapter VI Part II, Gulliver recounts how the king of Brobdingnag questioned the appropriateness of the procedures of election in English parliament and comments on the government’s relationship with their public. Everything negative the king said is recorded in the paragraph, as well as in the previous one. These comments contrast greatly with the correctness of the fair, Christian values of the English Mary Rowlandson juxtaposes to the “savage” manners of the Native Americans she encountered. The paragraph ends with the final statement: “He [the king] multiplied his Questions, and sifted me throughly upon every part of his Head, proposing numberless Enquiries and Objections, which I think it not prudent or convenient to repeat” (120).

One could not speak poorly of the English government at this time. Swift was well-aware of this and took measures to protect himself from persecution, like writing the text under the name “Lemuel Gulliver.” Such is the case of the passage I have selected as Swift uses his characters to filter his own voice, so he can present his own controversial opinions of the English government.

Gulliver ironically says he will not reiterate the offensive words of the king after he spends a full page doing so. He could have simply said how imprudent the comments were and left it at that to not offend the English public reading the book—but he doesn’t. This is a loophole used by Swift to separate Gulliver, the assumed author of this text at the time, from all the anti-government speech. Just as Rowlandson gives testimony of the actions of the Algonquians in her text, Swift uses this same tactic to separate Gulliver from these comments. It was the king of Brobdingnag who supposedly uttered these remarks, Gulliver is just the messenger who is telling the reader what was said through his voice as the “author” and narrator. Gulliver literally says all these comments against Parliament to the English reader but doesn’t at the same time, since he is basically quoting someone else. He then assures his English loyalty, in the ending sentence, by saying he would never say such offensive statements towards Parliament, in order to rid himself of any responsibility he had in making the remarks in the selected passage. Certainly, a smart, English nationalist like Gulliver would see if he is expressing anti-Parliament sentiments and not be oblivious to them. Masking his criticism as someone else’s words allows Swift to get out all his criticism of the English government, and how their values are not as perfect or humane as they think they are, and not be persecuted for it. He also points out how unreliable travelogues, like Rowlandson’s, can be because of all the power the author has in recording and bending information.

Black Real Housewives Of Atlanta GIF by Identity

-Wendy Gutierrez

“The Narrative of Captivity and Restoration” Book Tour at Boston

Rowlandson: Thank you, people of Boston! I am absolutely grateful to the almighty God for allowing my Narrative of Captivity and Restoration to become a Massachusetts Bay Times bestseller. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have been able to accomplish this without our Lord and his plan he has so graciously crafted for me. Last and most importantly, I thank the glorious God, our one only creator for sparing me from death and strengthening my faith in Him and Puritanism. God is good!

Random Puritan organizer: Mrs. Rowlandson will be taking questions from the audience now–

Apess: I have certain matters for Mrs. Rowlandson to address. I am William Apess, descended from Pequot and white man blood who now stands proud before you as a Methodist minister. I have placed my faith in the same exact God you praise in every other remove and His teachings, overlap with the values of the natives you came in contact with in your narrative. Still, there seems to be a disconnect between us. My question to you is: how is it that you and so many of your people, that claim the titles of “good Christians,” cannot see the good Christian practices us natives as such and differentiate it from your own.

Rowlandson: Well…you see, while I can say I was treated by the natives better than I had expected, the redeeming actions I was shown are not enough to make remove their statuses as heathens. Yes, the Algonquians that held me captive showed me some indication of civility and morality, though they should have never put me through such sinful, savage conditions to begin with, but they weren’t Christian by no means. They did not derive their reasons for these actions from God and therefore do not recognize Him as the only Lord and savior. I cannot believe you would doubt the Puritan faith and belittle the teachings of the Almighty. Next quest–

Apess: I am not diminishing the significance of your trials nor am I questioning the validity of the Puritan people’s interpretation of the word of God or the life he intends us to live. As I mentioned, your faith and mine are not so different. I understand that you cannot see your time with the natives or in the doctrine of Puritanism in any other way because it is through your eyes that you experienced it. However, you must also recognize the experiences and views of individuals who have been just as affected in the scenarios you chronicle, especially how these are the result of the actions you Puritans have done in the name of your religion. You preach about helping your fellow man so long as they demonstrate exemplary, respective behavior towards the you. Your fellow man does so, although not in the name of your God or mine but nevertheless showing actions God would not scold at for not honoring him, and you respond with multiple stabs to their backs instead and send them to the margins of the society they created before your arrival. It must be what you see as the native man’s distance from God that makes you separate your people from mine. After all, I don’t see what else differentiates us. Reflecting on what I have told said, I leave you with a few words from my own work, An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man, which will go on sale tomorrow, “I would ask you if you can see anything inconsistent in your conduct and talk about the Indians? And if you do, I hope you will try to become more consistent” (19). I thank you for your time and hope you consider the views I express in my own text.

-Wendy Gutierrez

Cities Upon a Hill

The interactions between Mary Rowlandson and her native Algonquian captors she depicts in Captivity and Restoration doesn’t much contradict the history of European intolerance towards indigenous North Americans. Instead, I think these cross-cultural exchanges, of which Rowlandson was mostly on the receiving end, complicate the English’s relationship with the society and ethics their Puritan ideals hoped to achieve in the new world.

Rowlandson didn’t directly do anything to the native people she and the rest of the Puritans encountered on the eastern coast of North America, like engage in the killings of the genocides. However, she was still complicit in the fall of another people as she came to live in lands her company colonized and removed native people from. One could understands the pain Rowlandson would feel at that moment seeing her colony torn apart limb by limb and to other native towns as captives by a raid of natives. That by itself is flatly painful. However, we cannot neglect the historical context of her sufferings, that come after her people’s own brutalization and interruption of the Native American communities for the establishment of a civilization based around their religious ideals. The bits of Algonquian language she begins to incorporate into her English and the interactions with her native captives does not change the intolerance expressed by the Puritans in attempting to achieve their religious goal and the consequences they caused in the process. However, I would say this complicates the relationship between Rowlandson and other Puritans to their contradictory religion.

In his sermon titled “A Model of Christian Charity” John Winthrop uses the phrase “city upon a hill” (47) to describe his ideal Massachusetts Bay colony. He hoped by instilling Puritan values, including “[j]ustice and [m]ercy” (34), the colony would become the model city for other Christians to follow after. However, Winthrop and the Puritan people did not consider the existence of the society they came across in their arrival to eastern North America and how their non-Puritan beliefs could be just as valuable to follow. In order to establish the city they believe is proper, many Puritan’s ironically do the opposite of what their doctrine preached by displacing and killing natives. The latter group becomes a roadblock between the Puritans and their city upon a hill away from the scrutiny they faced in England. It is through Rowlandson’s narrative that she sees a better impression of Algonquian society than she had expected.

If course the Algonquian slaughtered her people, but they let her live and eventually release her back to her remaining family. While in captivity, Rowlandson does face distress but is still fed from the little food her captors have, since they are eating bear as a desperate measure, and eventually develops a decent relationship with the Algonquian tribe. Of which she chronicles in her narrative but perhaps a bit ambiguous on because she, a respected Puritan woman, would not want to be perceived by her Puritan people as being assimilated into a “savage” non-Puritan society and believe in their tenets, if that really were the case. It’s obvious that Rowlandson has complete faith in the Christian God, since she mentions bible quotes in practically every other paragraph and later reveals how she believes every obstacle she endures during captivity is a trial from God. However, cross-cultural experience Rowlandson was a part of surely should have seen that Algonquian civilization was not completely polar to the Puritan one John Winthrop envisioned and realized the latter didn’t have to be the singular, governing belief system of that region. Although she does not state any fault in her Puritan religion, Mary Rowlandson’s narrative of captivity illustrates how her interactions with native peoples calls into question the wholesomeness of the Puritan religion in comparison to the “savage” ways of the Algonquians.

-Wendy Gutierrez