A Comparison Of Early American Texts Essay

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A Comparison Of Early American Texts Essay, Research Paper A Comparison of Early American Texts When the Europeans first came to the Americas in the late 15th – early 16th century, they brought with them a distinctive style of literature that was a complete contrast to the Native Americans? who inhabited the land. The Europeans? system of literature was based on writing, which was a technique unheard of by the Native Americans, whose system of literature was based on oral traditions since they did not use alphabetic writing. Despite this variance in styles, both European and Native American literature constructs a definite description of an author?s personality. I plan to present how the texts of Christopher Columbus, Bartolome de Las Casas, Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, and

Garcilaso de La Vega reveal a distinctive personality in each of these authors and the significance of this presentation. Christopher Columbus presents himself as a compassionate, magnanimous and dutiful voyager in the texts contributed. Christopher Columbus? texts seem to exhibit the author as an adherent to his ?Highnesses?, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Throughout these texts Columbus repeatedly declares of his actions as restrictively for the favor of his king and queen. For example, in the passage ?The people of the new world greet Columbus,? Columbus states, ??when Your Highnesses so command, they [the seven slaves] can all be carried off to Castile?since with fifty men they would be all kept in subjection and forced to whatever may be wished.? Another example

is in the passage ?Columbus describes the people of the New World,? in which Columbus proclaims, ?Our Lord willing, at the time of my departure I will bring back six of them [Native Americans] to Your Highnesses, that they may learn to talk.? These two examples depicts Columbus simply as a vassal to his authoritative figures, often even more so than to God. Bartolome de Las Casas presents himself as a veracious narrator of the monstrosities being perpetrated in the New World. His ability to confess of his own failures in attempting to erect a humane settlement establishes a loyal and infallible reputation for Las Casas, with an indication of his guilty conscience for being a part of such massive ravaging. An example of this assertion is evident in an account describing the death

of an Indian. Las Casas speaks of himself in the third person as a cleric who had, prior to the Indian being wounded in the stomach by a Spaniard, assured the native that there no longer would be any demise and atrocity, stating, ?No more, no more. Do not be afraid. There will be no more, there will be no more.” This level of dignity puts the reader?s trust in Las Casas? accounts, allowing us to feel his passion and see his documentary vividness. Las Casas also presents himself as a disciple of God, spreading the word of Christianity and acknowledging God?s part in the Spaniards? conquest of the New World. An example of this allegiance is best presented when Las Casas states, in the third person, ??the cleric Casas?would baptize the children he found in the village. He did this

throughout the island?and there were many for whom God provided holy baptism because He had predestined them to glory.? Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala displays himself as a privileged narrator of the events that took place during the European conquest, thus empowering him to record a truer account, since he was a Christianized Indian. Throughout Ayala?s text he makes perpetual references to his Incan heritage to produce a justification for his intention of revealing the atrocious deeds performed on the Native Americans. An example of these references is present in ?The First Part of this Chronicle: The Indians of Peru.? One statement in this passage asserts of his Incan heritage, stating, ?My history begins with the exemplary life which was led by my father Huaman Mallqui and my