Other Jamestown settlers, including Edward Wingfield, wrote accounts of their experience in Virginia. Why do you suppose Smith's narratives have become the most famous and are the only ones still widely read as "literature"?
Characterize Smith's style of narration. Would you call him objective, subjective, passionate, deadpan, ironic, humorous, serious? Cite examples to support your assessment.
A popular form of narrative in 19th-century America was the "tall tale," an action-packed story set in the wild and filled with exaggeration, humor, and the boasts of a colorful protagonist. In what ways does Smith's account resemble a tall tale?
At least one literary scholar has pointed out that self-creation is a common theme in American literature. Indeed, the individual's ability to mold his or her self fascinated Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, and many other American writers. In what ways is Captain John Smith a self-creator?
Practicality and labor have been important parts of the American ethos from the settlement of Jamestown to the modern day. Does Smith's narrative celebrate these principles? Defend your answer.
One of the most famous stories in American history is that of Pocahontas's rescue of Smith. As Smith tells it, several of his Indian captors "layd hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beate out his brains, Pocahontas the Kings dearest daughter, when no intreaty could prevaile, got his head in her armes, and laid her owne upon his to save him from death...". Some later readers have questioned the truthfulness of this account, however. It has been noted, for example, that Smith did not even mention the incident in his first narrative, and the writer James Branch Cabell has suggested that Smith borrowed the story from a book the English writer Richard Hakluyt