Early American Authors: Knight, Byrd, Cooper, Irvi

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Literary Encounters with the New World The way in which the early explorers exploited the Native Americans is simply ghastly. It is hard to give any merit to the "accomplishments" of Christopher Columbus. Simple poems of the Aztecs emotionally describe their difficulties, such as on page five in our textbook, written by an anonymous native writer: Broken spears lie in the roads; we have torn our hair in our grief.

The houses are roofless now, and their walls are red with blood.

Notwithstanding such horrendous actions against these indigenous peoples whose lands and tribes we ravished, I found John White's journal about the attempt to find the people of Roanoke extremely interesting, though somewhat dull (as most writings of this time). "The Fifth Voyage of Mr. John Winthrop" was full of intriguing descriptions about the new land, as yet virtually unblemished by us, and about the first search for the lost population of Roanoke.

This subject (Roanoke) has always interested me. Although the book makes references to the assumption that the people simply moved to another colony, many of the incidences and discoveries of Winthrop suggested otherwise. I guess this subject intrigues me because it is one of the classic unsolved mysteries, and the first major mystery we have about our country.

The insert of Captain John Smith's "The General History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles" was amusing to me. His exaggerations are plainly evident. I cannot help but like the man, however, because I have an interest in Pocahontas, whose one thousand plus page biography was one of the first large books I ever read.

Sarah Kemble Knight & William Byrd Sarah Kemble Knight's "Private Journal of a Journey from Boston to New York" provided the most interesting reading of the bunch. I can't help but...