A captive Narrative

The supreme power and greatness of the Mother, together with the faithfulness of her promise displayed, being a narrative of the captivity and restoration of the good dog jade, commended by her, to all that desires to know Mother’s doings to, and dealings with her. On the tenth of February, came more of the “people” with great numbers upon the land: Their first coming was at sunrise; hearing the neighing of the horses, looking out; our grass lay place was being trampled, and the horses were whipped sometimes leaving scars, they’re blood seeping into the land of the great Mother. They took 5 of my brethren dogs, and a puppy, and threw them into the river. My Alpha they took and slit his throat, he had attempted to help the others. I, and my two pups hid but soon they came and took away them both, oh well.

When I saw the two dead pups, the women bowed their head but kept moving, there was no howling or pawing, they did not care, and I too walked away because I had lost my pack. They were wild animals that had no morals.

When I woke I was alone with my ‘owner’.  These strange creatures were hostile, eyeing me often, but then also coming over to rub my head.  Their Alpha wore all black and commanded the others on what to do.  I was on my own with these feral creatures and I thought, “Great Mother give me guidance on what I should do”. Mother was our divine ruler that we worshipped and he was clearly testing me to make sure my faith was real.  We were no longer in the grassy woods where they had first begun to make these odd structures, but in a place with irregular trees put together in what I would assume is their way of shelter. There were no trees around and the smell changed, the land looked ravaged. They were hideous to me, they would feed me what they called ‘bread’ every day, instead of fresh killed meat, and then they would throw a ball and ask me to retrieve, begrudgingly I would while they laughed in joy.  They didn’t circle their food, sniff, and lick it, but nothing happened and either way the food was consumed. The betas and submissive people did not honor their Alpha, when he walked by they did not sniff his butt or bow their heads, they lacked class and respect.

There was one other loyal dog like myself around, they kept a contraption on her mouth. If she lifted her head they would smack her and eventually she would just whimper with her eyes closed.

When the full moon finally arrived after my never ending stay, they stayed in doors, I tried to explain that we needed to be out and run under the moonlight to honor Mother; to find food and honor the great Mother, but they neither cared or understood.

I knew that although this was foreign, If I were to make it out, away from these vial beings, Mother would reward me for my faith and servitude.

 

 

 

In this narrative I choose to follow the syntactical style of Mary Rowlandson in that most sentences I use are long and complex similar to Rowlandson. The diction used to critique the ‘people’ in the narrative are similar to Rowlandson’s choice in that here I use “owner”, and other terms that are familiar to a dog and not a person, similar to how Rowlandson defines most her narrative with terms and ways that only the Puritans would understand which could be creating a narrative bias as well. The events I choose to discuss are in a way mocking Rowlandson’s narrative in that throughout the whole narrative of Rowlandson she acts as though her captors were so terrible although they treated her better and took care of her. In this I choose to make her into a wild dog so as to express this notion of understanding other cultures and the ironic nature of the captive narrative. Rowlandson judges for the differences in culture although there is clearly a structure of class which is why I mention the absurd and incredulous tone of how the people don’t sniff each others butts. That is meant to mock the fascination with class and social etiquette that Rowlandson is obsessed with. In this Narrative, Mother, or more symbolically Mother Nature represents God and the powers and faith needed to believe in such a powerful thing. When the blood spills into the land of mother it’s a reference to when the smoke in the book went up to the heavens. Every part of the narrative is religiously charged.  I also choose to utilize formal diction to emphasize a religiously charged feel as Rowlandson does while simultaneously attempting to mock what little feelings towards others she appears to have. When bad things happen she states it rather than expresses her grief.

 

 

-Haley Halsey

The Harp of India

In “The Harp of India,” Derozio expresses his love for his country and the sadness he feels having it be colonized through the sonnet he writes. Derozio uses a harp to represent his country, in the first couple of lines, he says:

“Why hang’st thou lonely on you withered bough?

Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain;

Thy music once was sweet– who hears it now?”

He speaks of India here as a “withered bough” that is being isolated from its own culture and being pushed aside to be forgotten. In saying the music was sweet, Derozio is saying that their culture and country was once so great, but ever since they were colonized it has disappeared.

It is interesting to note how Derozio decided to use inclusive language to prove that India is not the only country going through colonialism. The title suggests that the poem is about or inspired by India’s colonization. However, he never actually states that this poem is about India because he uses “my country” rather than simply saying India, this way it is more relatable to those who were also colonized by the British. Also when he says “harp of my country, let me strike the strain,” he uses the harp to represent the culture of the country. He wants to be able to regain his country with all the culture they once had. The only way to reestablish their country as their own is by resisting to change and not submitting to the culture others bring, like the British.

-Natalia Alvarado

“If thy notes divine may be by mortal wakened once again, harp of my country, let me strike the strain”

The harp as a political symbol for Ireland was widely used to signify freedom and often depicted in the arms of an Irish woman. It was a symbol employed during English rule of Ireland, to express resistance to the British colonization of Ireland. To the people of Ireland, the harp was an instrument with deep connections to their Gaelic past, and with the ever-encroaching British culture invading their lifestyle, adherence to the significance of the harp was great. As we know however, Ireland was not the only colonized land by the British, India experienced the same occupation and unfortunately the same oppression that came with it. Henry Louis Vivian Derozio’s poem “The Harp of India” borrows the symbol of the harp from the Irish to combat the British, but also lament the loss of hope within India. Derozio’s Shakespearian sonnet concerns the dilapidated nature of the harp and how it has lost its sting: “Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou” (line 6). Derozio is aware of the history behind the harp, writing “O! many a hand more worthy far than mine/ Once thy harmonious chords to sweetness gave,/ And many a wreath for them did Fame entwine” (lines 8-10). Derozio is also hopeful for the return of the harp, zealously asserting in the heroic couplet of the poem “May be by mortal wakened once again,/ Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!” (line 13-14). Derozio’s poem extends the history of the harp, paying homage to the symbol, similar to Martin Luther King Jr. when he borrowed teachings from Gandhi to combat a similar foe (the white man). In this case the Irish and Indians are combating the same foe, the British, albeit at different points in history. What makes Derozio’s poem “The Harp of India” unique, rather than an empty usurpation of the harp symbol is its ability to mock the British while speaking of hope and freedom. As previously mentioned, Derozio’s poem is written as a Shakespearian sonnet, with a heroic couplet. Shakespearian sonnets are notoriously know for being on the subject of love; therefore making “The Harp of India” a love poem sighing over how magnificent the harp is. Derozio praises the Irish for creating the symbol, writing of its “music once was sweet” (line 3), “harmonious chords” (line 9), and “notes divine” (line 12). In addition to allowing the external form to reflect the content of the poem, he mocks the British with the external form of the poem. The Shakespearian sonnet is the epitome of English culture and eulogizes a particularly romanticized period in British history. In laymen’s terms, the Shakespearian sonnet is to the British as the harp is to the Irish. With the appropriation of the Shakespearian sonnet by Derozio, he mocks the British by using their external poetry form to write of an awakening and a call for retribution by the harp: “Harp of my country, let me strike the strain!” (line 14). Derozio’s “The Harp of India” effectively borrows from the Irish to taunt the return of the harp, or the return of hope and retribution.

 

-Sara Nuila-Chae

Sophia the Pretentious

In Phebe Gibbes’s Hartley House, Sophia often utilizes references to works from authors such as Dryden and Milton to demonstrate her ‘English Class’. In the book I think that Sophia utilizes the allusions or references to great english works so that she can brag about how much ‘cooler’ she is than her dear friend Arabella. Sophia in one of her many letters stated “But perhaps, instead of thinking yourself obliged to me, you will, with true European sangiford, suspect me of self- gratification in my descriptions; beware, however, of such erroneous conclusions, as you value the future favors of your own…” (Gibbs, p.14). This quote demonstrates sophia need to brag and show off to her friend how much class and cultured she is. The author does this in order to illuminate the obsessiveness the English had with their own cultural class hierarchy and to also offer a satirical analysis of the way in which the english language was used in such a complicated way to demonstrate ‘intelligence’ and along with that, ‘class’. Her reference to Dryden also emphasizes this in that Dryden was known for his admiration of the english language  so much so that he wrote The Indian Emperor, in closed couplets and iambic pentameters in a true heroic drama style. Although written in fancy English, Drydens drama is hard to follow and not easy for the average person to understand, even at that time in period. This is significant because although he is trying to uplift the english language, he is essentially uplifting nonsense. Ironically the more complicated and rare your diction and complex sentence structure was, the more intelligent you sounded which lead to a superiority complex and class distinction; even Sophia relies heavy on her cultured references and large amount of words to brag to her friend Arabella to demonstrate to Arabella how high society she is and to the reader how immature and spoiled she is.

Sophia the Great

Sophia knows that not many girls have the opportunity to do the same as she has so she makes sure of it to boast to Arabella. Sophia pretends to be a humble person when describing her experiences, despite clearly wanting to show off. An example of her boasting is:  “and now let me ask you your opinion of my attachment to you, when can thus fore go the highest earthly pleasures, flattery and luxurious accommodation, for your amusement” (14). Sophia is making it seem like she is doing the readers a favor in telling her story as if her experiences were superior to anyone else’s, like Arabella. In saying “accommodation” she makes it seem like she is doing this simply for the readers and not for herself, as if it is a sacrifice she is taking for us. Sophia also acknowledges that we may “suspect [her] of self-gratification in [her] descriptions” (14). She is aware that she may sound like she is boasting, yet she still proceeds in telling her story exactly the same way.

She often references other authors, like Dryden because she is trying to seem like she is so educated compared to Arabella. In quoting authors, she also establishes a dominance within the Indians because she is an educated English woman, which is extremely rare. Doing this gives her more confidence because it is like she is giving evidence to prove she is so much better than everyone else, especially Arabella.

-Natalia Alvarado

The Elite English Language and The Root of Colonization

The language that Sophia speaks with, and her persona in and of itself seem to closely represent the ideology and status of the English Language. The way in which the language has its users feeling entitled and elite. From the way she attempts to ‘cleverly” insult her friend through her letters, clearly showing a sort of entitled complex, she has to “lower herself” in the beginning of the work to even begin to explain Calcutta to her friend. Sophia, getting the opportunity many girls don’t get, and clearly thinking so highly of herself because of it. She quotes literary works throughout to validate her “elite” and “broad” knowledge of literature. She quotes in one of her letters,

 

“Tis raging noon and vertical the sun,

Darts on the head direct its forceful beams;

O’er heaven and earth, far as the ranging eye,

Can sweep a dazzling deluge range’

Thompson certainly passed a certain part of his life under this meridian, so applicable are the above lines to my current situation…”

 

Thomson’s poem “A Summer’s Noon” is a perfect example of the sort of “high art” which came off of that period. It represents a sort of area of literature which is closed off to both those who speak English and are of higher class. Sophia quoting this is a perfect understanding of the elite status of the English language and how it becomes root of colonization and dehumanization of the native peoples.

 

-Cait Grabill

Sophia’s Statue

“You will naturally suppose, that statuary is a species of garden ornament the Governor and Company are not unmindful of: but to give you a lift of the characters introduced, is a talk I shall not undertake. I had, Indeed, a scheme for immortalizing you and Doyly, could I have only brought you together on this spot ; for, superadded to a Milton, who your figure should have represented the Allegro, his the Penferfo, of that sublime poet.” (Gibbes P.232)  Sophia Goldborne obsessively quotes English literary works to provide relatable images she sees in India for the readers and Arabella. When Sophia starts off with you will naturally suppose, she is amusing the literary work of Milton has been read by Arabella. The quotations suggest about English literature was fondly read in English culture. Thus Sophia attempts to relate her experience in India with one of the Englishman’s work. Sophia then explains how the Governor and East India Company do not practice the art of making statues, however it is a way Sophia attempts to immortalize the character’s she describes to Arabella and Doyly. This practice is one that the Roman’s took part in as their pagan culture. Milton’s Areopagitica was loaded with many Greek and Roman references. “We have it not, that can be heard of, from any ancient State, or politie, or Church, nor by any Statute left us by our Ancestors elder or later; nor from the moderne custom of any reformed Citty, or Church abroad; but from the most Antichristian Councel and the most tyrannous Inquisition that ever inquir’d.” (Milton P.1) Milton’s statement is about book licensing and how it was not a practice of any of the ancient societies such as the roman statues. The mention of modern custom of any reformed city immediately relates to Sophia’s colonial takeover of cities in India.  This leaves open the interpretation that Sophia was influenced by the tempo of Milton which she used to relate the current British oppression to Milton era. However, how oppressive could have the British colonials if they do not practice statuary, book licenses, and censorship of press in India.

-Dario Lomeli

Sophia and Cultural Capital

Sophia’s exaggeration of the new, foreign world around her marks what is significant in her western gaze and sensibility. In the seventh letter to Arabella, Sophia tries too exhaustively to emphasize the difference in the “nature” of India and her native Britain. She claims the air she breathes is indescribably different, so much so that the British nature is no “competition” to that of India’s “productions” (67). The discourse she uses to describe India place attributes of value to them. The way she describes the competition and how the value of India is like some sort of precursor to capitalist ideas, but most importantly it is early colonialist. The value is found once Sophia has touched down on India, so the real value is in Sophia’s possession of India. The irony of this is Sophia’s attempt to include a quote by poet Andrew Young as an attempt to prove that what she admires of India is more natural and void of greed:

“Can wealth give happiness?—look round and see

What gay distress, what splendid misery”

Andrew Young’s poem criticizes the idea of excess and even alludes to nature just as Sophia has in her letter. However, the difference is Sophia is in a royal setting while she views everything around her almost through a monetary perspective. The “nature” that she sees and feels is a capital she has achieved that her friend Arabella has not. It is no coincidence that she uses words like “productions” and “competition” while speaking of nature because Gibbes is trying to show the audience that while Sophia is encountering culture in India in a royal and political landscape, the only thing she sees is the price value of everything compared to her native country. Even for the poetry of Young, Sophia is placing a price tag on it as if to validate her opinions about wealth.

–Cesar R

Hierarchy in English

The way the English dictionary came about is really interesting. Reading the importance of the dictionary through Johnson, Macaulay, and Ray’s readings displays the history of the English words.

I really appreciated the video because it gave a short summary of the English language and how it has evolved overtime with discoveries of new words. When seeing the video it made me wonder whether the dictionary was truly created as a resource for spelling and definitions, or if it was created to establish English as a hierarchy among other languages and cultures. The way the English language was created was by taking words from other languages and making it their own. The English language is a great example of colonialism. They looked down upon other languages and made it to themselves to improve their language by turning some of their words to English, because after all anything English is automatically proven to be better, or so they thought.

Johnson mentions that many English words are derived from French and Latin, yet he deems English superior when it comes to other languages when it is not even its on language. He mentions in the preface that words in English are not made up, but are rather taken from other words and “improved” because”the former was thought inadequate” (6). Johnson believed the English language was better than every other language, yet ironically many words were derived from other languages.

-Natalia Alvarado

English v. English: Neither is Right

It’s days like this where I wonder what someone like Samuel Johnson would think if he heard how we speak today, and considering the fact that he felt the need to write an entire dictionary back then, I’m sure he would do it all over again in the present day. Today’s English is nowhere near like the English of Samuel Johnson’s time, our dialect has changed, spellings, and overall use of various words and phrases has changed since Johnson’s dictionary was made. However, in terms of its status and its use over the rest of the world, perhaps not much has changed in the past 200 years.

In Samuel Johnson’s Preface to his dictionary of the English language, he mentions, “uncertain pronunciation arise in a great part of the various dialects of the same country, which will always be observed to grow fewer, and less different, as books are multiplied” (2), and from the point of view of someone who knows for a fact her dialect would never equate to Johnson’s, I recognize that what is being called for is the idea of conformity, a proper way to spell and say the words that come out of our mouths in order to better understand each other. While I personally like the idea of being able to understand everyone I come in contact with, Johnson takes this one step further to where language too becomes a weapon in colonialism.

In discussion we noted the change in spellings between America and England in words like color versus colour, apologize versus apologise, and center versus centre were a sign of America rebelling from England’s rule. In other words the nation’s who adopted the “proper” way of English were the most obvious marks of the nations under England’s rule, and while certainly English in separate countries have also changed over time, the mark of England’s past marks will never go away.

– Elizabeth Dominguez