Iroquois Creation Story – Translated by David Cusick

  • Binaries!
  • Good Mind vs. Bad Mind
  • Lightness vs. Darkness
  • Birth of Struggle between Good and Evil (literally)
  • Woman as creator of life
  • Nothing goes to waste
  • Mother becomes the moon and sun
  • Good Mind “fixes” creations of Bad Mind
  • Man made from the earth (dust)
  • Bad can have some good in it (creatures in dark world help the Sky Woman) and Good can do some bad (Good Mind lies about weakness in order to beat Bad Mind)

Christopher Columbus – Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage


John Smith – A General History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles

  • european elitism
  • spread information about the new world (account of first early settlement)
  • a historical
  • John Smith’s “brilliant leadership”
  • Showcased the cultural differences between settlers and natives
  • John Smith is not a reliable narrator.

^ original text was more based of fact, whereas the later edition (our text) had more hyperbole. For example, the account of Pocahontas saving John Smith was added. This leads to skepticism on the validity of Smith’s words and whether he is telling facts or creating fiction.

William Bradford – Of Plymouth Plantation

Who is Bradford?

The founder (and governor) of the Plymouth Colony settlement

Around 1630, he began to compile his two-volume “Of Plymouth Plantation” which was first published in 1856.

It’s an account of the early years of the colony. (The First book focuses on the voyage and the “first encounter” with the natives. The second focuses on their settlement into the New World).

What of the text itself?

It is not overly embellished. Plain language = more credible = potential for others to listen/value Bradford’s voice.

The long titles of each chapter summarize the even longer chapter text.

9. voyage until landing is made

10. first encounter with the “savages”

11. Mayflower compact, disease, and survival lessons

19. they begin to prosper

23. concern for the future

Recurring theme? Faith/Christianity

Bradford claims that everything that happens to them is a “sign” of God. The text always returns to God.

For example, in chapter 10 they chased after the natives and it led them to fresh water, corn, etc. (“But the Indians seeing themselves thus followed, they again forsook the woods and ran away on the sands as hard* as they could, so as they could not come near them but followed them by the track of their feet sundry miles and saw that they had come the same way.” This was God’s providing (“And here is to be noted a special providence of God, and a great mercy to this poor people”).

John Winthrop – A Model of Christian Charity


Anne Bradstreet – Contemplations and To My Dear Children

Anne Bradstreet important ideas from her texts.
  • Native of Britain and came to the new world. She was an educated woman and graduated from Cambridge. She was the first published author in the Americas.
  • She used nature and Greek myths in her poetry.
  • She is very conscious of her morality and mortality as a puritan woman.
  • The letter to my dear children was not intended for public viewing.
  • In the letter to my dear children she is concerned with the truthfulness of the Bible. But she sees gods worth around her which strengthens her beliefs.

Mary Rowlandson – A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

Rowlandson Key Ideas

  • First captivity narrative.
  • Staying faithful to god despite disastrous conditions
  • Despite everything going on she was still spreading the word of God to her captors.
  • Questioning God’s motives:
  • Questioning why the lord would gift the Natives despite them being “savages.”
  • Sense of teamwork:
  • Beers coming back and having talks with the tribes to gain Rowlandson’s freedom
  • Sense of spiritual trials, looking for scripture for piece of mind, etc.