American Literature: Essay on John Smith

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JR Bravo
January 08, 2011
English 240-55
Journal 1

John Smith is a well known figure in the initial settlement of what was the English commonwealth of Virginia. Many opinions can be made of Smiths accuracy of his feats or his self righteous or overindulgence of his personal feats, but never the less he is a dominant figure in early America, and many of his explorations and views later would form what the mass opinion of American settlers would inhabit. Smith paints early America as a land of great toil and hardships, with hard work and grave hunger, even as far as to compare to a sort of hell, stating “With this lodging and diet, our great extreme toil in bearing and planting palisades so strained and bruised us and our continual labor in the extremity of the heat had so weakened us, as were cause sufficient to have made us as miserable in our own native country or any other pla ce in the world.” (Page 49 John Smith) Smith refers to early Americas first is inhabitants as harshly as he describes the landscape and its toils. Smith also thinks of the Indians way of life, the way they conduct everyday affairs and the way they fight war as inadequate. In a one passage describing one tantalizing scene from the text, Smith describes the Indians as “The savages having drawn from George Cassen whither Captain Smith gone, prosecuting that opportunity they followed him with 300 bowmen, conducted by the king of the Pamunkey, who in divisions searching the turnings of the river found Robinson and Emry by the fireside; those they shot full of arrows and slew.” (Page 49 John Smith) In addition to the Smith setting the scene of early America as hardship and toiled filled, Smith sets the scene of America as a land where one can take what they desire in their hearts, the potential of expansion limitless. Early America later took this somewhat barbaric, somewhat adventurous spirit and ran with it, later expanding the union to what we know as modern day United States of...
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