Omparison of Christopher Columbus and John Smithas writings
Compare the writings of Christopher Columbus (the letter describing his first voyage) and John Smith (General historie of Virginia) to explain the treatment of an emerging/expanding understanding of American identity.
To be effective, this essay will set out in (probably no more than) one clear paragraph the specific definition of American identity the texts explore. In the following 3-4 paragraphs, the essay will compare the texts to suggest the attitude toward that definition the texts explore. This essay will not retell the plot. Instead, it will look closely at individual moments or scenes to tease out the cultural implications revealed in these scenes.
Throughout the essay, keep the following questions in mind:
a? Which specific identity value or values does the text or individual scene reflect?
a? Does the text seem to embrace or reject that image of identity and any shifts in that identity as connected to the new world/new nation? How does that decision (to embrace or reject) reflect the writeras understanding of the role of literature in defining (or redefining) American identity?
An examination of that last point will give you a good place to begin a conclusion to the essay, which should focus on the a?So what?a? question: what must we understand differently about this text, now that we see the role of American identity issues within it? Does a careful recognition of American identity in this text clarify how we should read literature from the American tradition more generally?