Tompkins Indians

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Christopher Girg
Professor Denise Lovett
English 1010
09/07/2013
Learning History
As far as this essay is going to deal with Linda Simon´s “The Naked Source” and Jane Tompkins´s “Indians”, first I will introduce you to Simon´s opinions about history and how she thinks people learn and should learn history. “It is true that my students do not know history” (Simon 1). With this sentence Simon introduces her “The Naked Source” and already tells her reader what the text is about and what she thinks about her students. She describes the process of learning history as students have to do. That means learning dates, reading long texts or even whole books and answering some pointless questions. She also describes the process of learning history as historians do, which is much more complex. To let the reader know what she thinks, she quotes A. L. Rowse´s “The Use of History”. Rowse tells us people do not need “a library of books”, at least not to start learning history. She says one should only get a pen and a notebook and start walking. One should see places where history took place and just try to see as much as possible in order to get a feeling for what happened in the past and more what people were like back then. Simon thinks students should rather read the first sources to be able to get to know who the people in the past were, because every secondary text contains the author´s opinions are not necessarily the original point of view. She wants the students to get a sense of “what it is that historians do” (322, 25) and she thinks to understand the literature historians write, you must know what kind of person this historian is whose book you are reading. The question to this essay is to compare Simon to Tompkins. Therefor I have to introduce Tompkins. She grew up in New York and was always interested in history of Indians and Indians themselves. She is also very convinced that personal opinions of historians affect their work and they cannot write objective...
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