Through metaphorical analysis of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Takaki shows how in each geographical area Caliban was perceived as a different race, supporting the idea that the entire foundation of the English’s definition of “savagery” was not universally based on race but rather the gap in cultural identity and the judging parties own beliefs on what is “civilized.” Takaki analyzes the demonization of the Indians and interprets this as being based upon the natural inability of humans to understand and appreciate those who are unlike themselves. He essentially expresses that the Indians are not, as a whole and based exclusively upon race, “savages,” but rather a people misunderstood by a culture different than their own. In presenting his interpretation of events in the 1670’s to the reader, Takaki references the captivity narrative of Mary Rowlandson. Takaki utilizes Rowlandson’s first person account of the events in order to support his interpretation based on dual-sidedness of Rowlandson’s account.
Though Rowlandson did, throughout her narrative, reinforce negative stereotypes of the Indians, she also gave credit where it was due; her stories acknowledge the humanity of the Indians. Essentially, Rowlandson’s account highlights that the Indians were people too, though a people of a different culture and spiritual background than the English were familiar with.
Rowlandson begins her narrative with harshly worded judgments of the Indian people. She exclaimed, when discussing her first departure with the Indians, “…Away we must go with those barbarous creatures” (Rowlandson 22). Rowlandson does carry these judgments on throughout much of the narrative; however, she soon begins to acknowledge the kindness of several Indians as well. During the second remove, Rowlandson tells the reader, “One of the Indians carried my poor wounded babe upon a horse… at length I took it off the horse...
Cited: Rowlandson, Mary. "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs Mary Rowlandson." Kaleidoscope Coursepack 2010. 3rd ed. LAD Custom Pub, 2010. 21-35. Print.
Takaki, Ronald. "The Tempest in the Wilderness." A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. New York: Back Bay, 2008. 26-48. Print.
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