Close Reading of "The Derelict" Emily Pauline Johnson

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English 125, S13N02
30 January 2013
Internalized Colonialism in Emily Pauline Johnson’s “The Derelict”

“ And, with the perversity of his kind, Cragstone loved her; he meant to marry her because he knew that he should not. What a monstrous thing if he did! He, the shepherd of this half-civilized flock, the modern John Baptist; he, the voice of the great Anglican church crying in this wilderness, how could he wed with this Indian girl who had been a common serving-maid in a house in Penetanguishene, and had been dismissed there from with an accusation of theft that she could never be proven untrue? How could he bring this reproach upon the Church? Why, the marriage would have no precedent; and yet he loved her, loved her sweet, silent ways, her listening attitudes, her clear, brown, consumptive-suggesting skin. She was the only thing in all the irksome mission life that had responded to him, had encouraged him to struggle anew for the spiritual welfare of this poor red race. Of Course, in Penetanguishene they had told him she was irreclaimable, a thief, with ready lies to cover her crimes; for that very reason he felt tender towards her, she was so sinful, so pathetically human” (Page 43)

The human condition has been characterized by conflict for as far as history can remember. Emily Pauline Johnson thoroughly explores this concept in her short story “ The Derelict,” focusing mainly on the societal and personal conflicts rooted in Colonization. The protagonist of the short story Cragstone is a missionary for the Anglican Church living a life of internal and external conflict brought on by his undeniable love for Lydia. Lydia stands as Cragstones’ counterpart, she is introduced as belonging to the ‘ red poor race’ and accused of theft and deemed ‘irreclaimable’ due to unsupported allegations. Through the expressions of Cragstones’ cognitive dissonance and the sequence of events in the short story Johnson successfully presents a bipolar world that...
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