How does a writer represent learning to read—how are schools and other institutions of learning portrayed?

we have looked at literary and historical representations of Indigenous people in seventeenth- and eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century contexts (John Smith, The Female American), as well as literature by Indigenous people (Samson Occom and William Apess. We have focused intently on how colonial stereotypes about Native peoples developed historically and shaped literary genres and practices. Finally, we have explored two early Native writers, Occom and Apess in order to understand how their texts reflect the imposition of settler cultural norms (Christianity, literacy, property ownership, heteropatriarchy) while also tracing the different practices of dissent they developed to resist and challenge settler beliefs about Indigenous peoples.
the purpose of this essay is to give you the opportunity to develop your own interpretation of how colonial tropes operate within and/or were challenged by early Native writers. The most important work I’d like to see in this essay is engage in deep attention and close reading of a text: discuss a scene in detail, quote from and engage with specific language in a passage, explore literary devices like imagery, dialogue, or tone, and unpack the rhetorical positions of narrators in these texts.
Generate a sustained analysis and evaluation of a specific issue relating to colonial representations of Indigenous peoples—as a political, racial, cultural, and religious matter—as well as Native traditions that offer more complex depictions of dissent
Pay attention to the conflicts—of sexuality and gender, rank and nationality, race and ethnicity, and religious affiliation—that made writing about Indigenous lives, kinship bonds, community structures, and political norms sites of epistemological struggle
Construct a strong, creative thesis identifying how these conflicts play out within one text, and support your argument with close engagement with the text
Autobiography and Authorship: Several of the texts we have engaged with have closely tied structures of authority to conflicts over autobiographical selfhood. Occom and Apess, for instance, have a lot to say about colonial frameworks that linked authorial power to mastery over the written word—Occom in a “Short Narrative of My Life” and Apess in A Son of the Forest—while they also worked to construct Indigenous notions of resilience that contravened these dominant cultural mores.
A few questions you could consider (although you don’t have to answer all of them):
How does a writer represent learning to read—how are schools and other institutions of learning portrayed? Are there conflicts around who is able to become proficient in Euro-Western literacy standards (I’m thinking of Wheelock and Dartmouth, but feel free to go in other directions), and what do these conflicts mean for evolving understandings of Indigenous cultural and political sovereignty?
How does a particular writer represent herself or himself as an author? And what can you say about their entrance in a public print network—have they consented to publication or been constrained (Occom specifically uses the word “constrained” but I’m sure you can find similar moments in other texts!) in any way—if so, how? How do Native writers resist or challenge settler norms of authority (in overt and subtle ways and against the coercive violences of the scene of writing)?
A Note about Expectations: For this essay, the two most important aspects of your writing that I’m looking for are 1) a clear, creative and nuanced thesis statement, and 2) well-constructed body paragraphs that include topic sentences and quoting/analyzing textual evidence.
Please, please double check spelling of proper names before you turn in your essays (for instance, it is “Samson,” not “Sampson” for Samson Occom; “Apess” and not “Apes” for William Apess; etc.). You would also be surprised how often I receive essays with “Indigenous” misspelled. I try not to get bent out of shape by minor mistakes, but I think making sure names and racial designations are spelled correctly is not a minor thing. Please also refer to writers by their last names—Occom, Apess, etc. And finally, wherever possible, please use specific names for Indigenous tribes—Mohegan, Pequot, Powhatan, etc.

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