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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Blog Assignment #2-Jamestown and stuch

Jamestown

Perhaps students remember Captain John Smith from their childhood.
Imaginary John Smith Rendering
Of course, Disney was way off on the true John Smith.  He was quite a self promoter, and also helped get people to move towards Virginia after a gunpowder accident.  It seems his powder bag was ignited while he was still wearing it.
The Real Captain John Smith

While accident prone, it is true that Jamestown would not have survived without his guidance.  His edict "He who doesn't work, doesn't eat," may have been stolen from the Bible, but it also saved the struggling colony and fort.  It wasn't until resupply ships came (the First Supply, mentioned in the source title), that Jamestown really had a chance. On board, a young entrepreneur named John Rolfe.  His horticultural interests would change the fate of Jamestown and England's interest in American colonies forever.

The Assignment
A. Read What Happened Until the First Supply: The General History of Virginia  There is a question at the start, but there is also an answer at the end.  They're valuable, but not necessarily what we're going to look at as a class.

B. Following the commenting guidelines, answer ANY of the following questions (choose 2 or 3), and respond to them in the comments section of this post.



  1. What kind of audience does The General History of Virginia (1624) seem intended for?
  2. Characterize Smith's style of narration. Would you call him objective, subjective, passionate, deadpan, ironic, humorous, serious? Cite examples to support your assessment.
  3. One of the most famous stories in American history is that of Pocahontas's rescue of Smith.  Some later readers have questioned the truthfulness of this account, however. It has been noted, for example, that Smith did not even mention the incident in his first narrative, and the writer James Branch Cabell has suggested that Smith borrowed the story from a book the English writer Richard Hakluyt published in 1609 or from any one of many similar stories that are found around the world (52). Citing details from Smith's writing or his life, argue that the story is totally true, partially true, or totally false.
  4. How does Smith depict the Indians in this passage?  Make a list of words and phrases that support your interpretation.
  5. Where does Smith mention God in this piece?  Write out those lines.  What effect would this have had on Smith’s readers?
  6. How does Smith depict himself in his writing?  Support your answer with specific examples from the text.
  7. John Smith famously took Jamestown's poorly provisioned and disciplined settlers and "whipped them into shape."  He famously decreed "He who does not work, neither shall he eat" (though he took that from the Biblical 2nd Book of Thessalonians 3:10). Practicality and labor have been important parts of the American identity (what it means to be American) from the settlement of Jamestown to the modern day. Based on your reading of the textbook AND the reading from John Smith, does he present that "ethos"? Defend your answer with specific examples.

C. Return in a few days and read through the responses of others.  Again, following the commenting guidelines, provide feedback, criticism, or ask questions.  Also, if somebody responds to your comment, feel free to comment back, of course, being polite.  It will help promote positive dialogue in class later this year.

Both B & C must be completed to earn full credit for the assignment.

If Jamestown interested you, or you just want to know more, check out this interactive map of the original fort.  It's really cool. And stay tuned to the blog for some great podcasts, and other supplementals regarding Jamestown, and the LOST colony of Roanoke!

28 comments:

Megan Machnicz said...

Response to what John Smith thought of Indians question:

In "What Happened Till The First Supply From The General History of Virginia 1607-1614" John Smith depicted the Indians as very cruel and evil people. John Smith even made it seem as if the Indians weren't even people often calling the Indians "The savages" (Smith pg.2). The English and Indian cultures were so different that during Smith's captivity he would often refer to the Indians as being devils or acting hellish. Smith Stated, " On the one they caused him to sit and all guard went out of the house, and presently came skipping in a great grim fellow, all painted over with coal mingled with oil; and many snakes' and weasels' stuffed with moss and all their tails tied together, so they met on the crown of his head in a tassel... with a hellish voice ... With most strange gestures and passions he began his invocations, and environed the fire... three more such like devils came rushing in" (Smith pg. 3). Smith made it seem as if the Indians were devils because that they were acting differently than what was socially acceptable in the English culture. Therefore John Smith made the Indians seem like creature than humans.

Megan Machnicz said...

1.
Smith intended that "The General History of Virginia (1624)" would be read by possible future colonist to the new world from England. During the early 1600's when colonization began in North America life for the colonist was very hard. Smith stated, "Fifty in this time we buried" (Smith pg.2). Therefore the first few months of colonization of Jamestown was very rough and hard for the colonist who didn't have many survival or farming skills. By the time that Smith published this passage in 1624, the hard accounts of the colony and the possible threat of Indians had reached England. There's no doubt that some of the accounts would have scared away possible future colonist away from the idea of going to the new world. Therefore John Smith wrote this passage to show that the colony was actually now doing well and the Indians weren't that bad. At the beginning of the passage John Smith started out by describing how bad the colony was. He also started out by calling the Indians "Savages" (Smith pg. 2). However by the end of the passage, Smith began to turn his tone from negative into positive especially when describing the Indians and Pocahontas bringing the colonist food. Smith stated, "Now, every once in four or five days, Pocahontas with her attendants brought him so much provisions that saved many of their lives" (Smith pg. 5). The change in Smith's attitude towards the Indians proves that Smith wrote the passage to describe how nice the Indians were being to them and how well the colony was doing now. Since the colonist in Jamestown already knew about these events, Smith had to have been writing to citizens in England. In particular, he made it sound as if he was addressing the citizens who might consider going to the new world.

Megan Machnicz said...

6.
In "What Happened Till The Supply From The General History of Virginia 1607-1614" John Smith depicted himself as brave and smart. John Smith stated, " When the Indian party began to surround Smith, he defended himself with the aid of a savage, his guide, whom he bound to his arm with his garters and used himself as a buckler" (Smith pg. 2). The account from Smith of when he was kidnapped made Smith sound as if he out smarted the Indians since he attached himself to another Indian and therefore they couldn't kill him. The passage also made Smith sound brave. When smith was kidnapped he had to witness ceremonies that the Indians had that were different than what he was used to. As well, Smith made it sound like he thought that the Indians were going to kill him at any moment. Smith stated, "With a hellish voice and rattle in his hand ... With most strange gestures and passions he began his invocation, and environed the fire with a circle of meal... three more such like devils came rushing in" (Smith pg. 3). Smith made it seem as he was putting himself in the path of danger in order to survive and get back to his colony to help them. Also, when Smith made the deal with the Indians to exchange weapons with them for food it saved the colony making him sound like a hero. Smith stated, " But at last we regained some conference with them.... that saved many of their [the colonists] lives" (Smith pg. 5). Smith made his kidnapping ordeal sound like a story where he was able to save the colony by being kidnapped and enduring the fear the Indians gave him during his captivity to help his fellow colonist survive.

Jake Velleco said...

1. John Smith's passage was intended for all future colonists because he wanted them to know they had to shape up in order to live the colonist life or to not bother coming to the New World. What he wanted was hard workers who wanted nothing but devoted loyalty to the advancement of the colony. Life was hard at the time and if John Smith hadn't turned the settlers there into workers then there would probably not of been a Jamestown colony.

Jake Velleco said...

6. John Smith depicts himself in this passage as a great person who knows what he is doing and wants everyone to be like him so they could have a fully self functional colony. He depicts himself this way because he thinks he knows the answer to everything and usually did know in times of trouble, such as when it came to the Indians.

Jake Velleco said...

3. The tale of Pocahontas is partially true as in John Smith knew Pocahontas but was not rescued by her. I say this because John Smith would have been nicer to Indians in the first place if one had rescued him rather than hate on them for kind deeds. I can back this up because it tells of John calling the Indians evil because they talked in hellish voices. Thats something a person wouldn't say if he knew they had the ability to risk their life in pursuing to help a stranger.

Taiya Supranovich said...

4. John Smith depicted the Indians as cruel and devilish people. He described them as ugly. on page three he states, "With most strange gestures and passions he began his invocation, and environed the fire with a circle of meal. Which done, three more such like devils came rushing in with the like antique tricks, painted half black, half red: but all their eyes were painted white and some red strokes like mustachioes along their cheeks. Round about him those fiends danced a pretty while, and then came in three more as ugly as the rest, with red eyes and white strokes over their black faces. Hes describing these people as ugly and devilish. Words that he used:
-ugly
-devilish
-strange

Taiya Supranovich said...

5. Smith mentions God a few times in this story. The first time he mentioned God was on page 2. "Each hour(we were) expecting the fury of the savages, when god, the patron of all good endeavors, in that desperate extremity so changed the hearts of the savages that they brought such plenty of their fruits and provisions that no ma wanted." This could have effected his readers by changing their perspective on the way they viewed god. When all hope was gone and abandoned they turned to him to save them from the savages. He also mentioned god at the end of this piece. On page 5, it says, "Thus you may see what difficulties still crossed any good endeavor and the good success of the business being thus oft brought to the very period of destruction. Yet you see by what strange means God hath still delivered it. This still means the same thing. When all hope is gone god is there.

TJ Fauci said...

1. John Smith wrote "The General History of Virginia (1624)" with the intention that it would be read by future emigrants from England. These emigrants, who would become colonists, would read this passage to learn of the hardships of leaving an old life behind to start anew when boarding a ship to travel to the new world. Smith writes, "Fifty in this time we buried," (pg. 2) showing how rough it was in the beginning months of colonization due to lack of farmers or colonists with farming skills. Smith also wanted to inform future colonists that the Native Americans were allies and not enemies, since he talked about how Pocahontas had brought food to the colonists which had actually saved some of the colonists from starvation

TJ Fauci said...

4. John Smith depicted the Indians as a lower race compared to that of the colonists. He referred to the Indians as "Savages" (pg. 2) showing how he felt as if the Indian culture was much less civilized and more barbaric than that of the English/Colonist culture. Smith also described the Indians as "Devils" (pg. 3) since their rituals were foreign to him and went against Smith's religious values. Words such as: devilish, strange, hellish, and savage create a negative feeling from connotation, which leads to a negative feeling towards the people who the words are directed to, which in this case is the Indians

TJ Fauci said...

Hi Megan. After reading your response to who John Smith intended as readers of "The General History of Virginia (1624)," I realized that we both had the same idea of who the specific audience of this passage was. This makes me wonder if you believe that this piece could've actually been written as a warning to citizens of England of what is to come if they choose to travel to the new world, since you wrote how some people may have been scared away by the passage, and after putting myself into an Englishman's shoes, I thought that this piece sounded like a long and descriptive list of all the bad things going on in the new world to give forewarning to anyone thinking about leaving England to have a fresh start

Megan Machnicz said...

Hi TJ,
I also agree that we basically had the same idea about why Smith wrote this passage. Smith probably did write to the future colonists to warn them about the hardships that they would be getting into if they came to the new world. Not only did it sound like a warning though, going back into the passage again it sounds as if Smith was informing future colonist about the skills they would need in order to survive. Smith stated, "With this lodging and diet our extreme toil in bearing and planting palisadoes so strained and bruised us as were cause sufficient to have made us as miserable in our native country or any other place in the world" (Smith pg. 2). It sounds as if Smith was informing and warning the citizens of England not to come to the new world unless they had survival and farming skills. By writing this passage Smith was keeping not well suited colonist away and keeping the well suited colonist in the colony.

Megan Machnicz said...

Hi Taiya,
After reading your response to question 5, I agree with your position that Smith mentioned god in the passage to show the colonist and citizens of England that god helps them through their troubles. When you talked about how Smith was mentioning god to change the perspectives of people about god, I was wondering if you were inferring that Smith wrote the passage to try to get more English citizens to convert to Protestantism since Smith was showing that God was helping them survive and the protestant reformation was under way in England?

Joe Adiletta said...

1. I believe the audience captain Smith intended this article to be for was future English colonists in the New World. Therefore I believe the purpose of this article was to prepare the colonists for the hardships of the new world. He prepares them for the hard journey by describing the hardships they endured in the beginning of their settlement. However he also reassures his audience at the end of the article by describing their success in the end. These hardships and successes are shown in the article as being closely related with their relationship with the Native Americans. In the beginning while enduring the hardships of starvation he referred to the then hostile natives as "savages" and "devils." However by the end of the article he demonstrates the end of the hostilities of the native americans by saying, "His relation of the plenty he had seen." This also ended their hardships due to their source of food from the Natives which is demonstrated when he says, "Pocahontas with her attendants brought so many provisions." Through these factors described in this article John Smith prepared his audience (future colonists) for the new world.

Joe Adiletta said...

4. Throughout this passage John Smith describes the Native Americans differently depending on their relationship at that time. For the Majority of the article the Indians and the colonists were hostile and throughout this part of the article they are referred to as savages,barbarous, and devil. However when relations became better and the natives were bringing provisions to the colonists, He referred to them by name such as Pocahontas, and Powhatan. In the end I believe smith and the colonists saw the natives as minorities.

Taiya Supranovich said...

Hi Megan, I read your response to question 6 and i agree with how John Smith depicted himself. He thought that he could out smart the Indians and he thought that he was better than them. I like how you wrote your response it was well detailed and you provided excellent evidence to support your answer.

Justin Fabozzi said...

1. It seems to me that the memoir was intended for any prospective colonists to decide for themselves whether or not they want to settle in the Americas. He wanted to make sure that people knew what they were getting into and to be prepared for the worst. At first he sounded hopeless about the settlement, but later in the memoir he writes as if to convince every person he can to join them and help out with all they have.

4. Often throughout the passage, Smith referred to the Native Americans as "savages". To me, it feels as though he had little respect for them or their culture. He acted as though what they were accustomed to looking like and acting like was some sort of behavior that only belongs to devils and creatures of the like. However, by the end of the passage, he mentions that the natives would bring provisions from time to time, and sounded as if he respected them.

Franklyn Barrueco said...

1. The audience that captain John Smith seems to be targeting in his passage individuals that seeked to emigrate from England and to the new, dangerous, and largely undiscovered New World and Virginia. The turmoils and hardships that are discussed also give a sense of accomplishment from the captain. That through all these setbacks, "extreme weakness and sickness" that him and other Virginians persevered. The audience that John Smith was writing for could of been for individuals in England or seeking to make the New World journey. There is some anger throughout the passage that could be intended for people seeking independence. A chance of separation from the religious oppressive, fateful English government. "it was ill done of the Council [in England] to send forth men so badly provided, this incontradictable reason will show them plainly they are too ill advised to nourish such ill conceits." John Smith then also gives the fault of going on themselves.

Franklyn Barrueco said...

4. Smith depicts the Indians as a savage group of people that he, through the passage reiterates. He even states that the Powhatan is "more devil than man". Ugly, devilish, and strange were adjectives that John Smith used to describe this people. If you were kidnapped by strangers, would you first though of them be warm?

Franklyn Barrueco said...

Taiya, your clarity in choice of words really does match the atmosphere and overall depiction of Indians from John Smith's interaction with the Indians. One friendly point of criticsm would not be to quote the article in such an overzealous fashion. Provide more of you ideas and use supporting evidence.

Joe Adiletta said...

Justin, I strongly agree with your answer because of the response was backed by text evidence. It makes sense smith was preparing future colonists with his experience.

Justin Fabozzi said...

Joe, I think that you conveyed your thoughts very well. I was really able to see where you were coming from, and your opinions were clear enough that its obvious that you put plenty of thought into it.

Jake Velleco said...

Megan,
I agree with what you said for your first response because you backed it up with text evidence which helped make it clear to me you know what your talking about.

Colin Flannery said...

3. The story of Pocahontas saving Smith is partially true, that is at least what I believe. If a Indian saved him why would he be so harsh as to call them evil and "savages". If someone really did save him, you would assume he would speak better of the Native Americans. What I do believe about the story is that He and Pocahontas might have been good friends but she most likely did not save his life.

Colin Flannery said...

6. Smith depicts himself as a righteous believer in God who knows what he is doing and can lead the colonization of Jamestown. Also he shows he is clever and is a brilliant man who knows all about the world. "But when he demonstrated by that globe-like jewel the roundness of the earth and skies, the sphere of the sun, moon and stars, and how the sun did chase the night round about the world continually; the greatness of the land and sea, the diversity of nations, variety of complexions, and how we were to them antipodes, and many other such like matters, they all stood as amazed with admiration." (PAGE 3 paragraph 1)This depicts Smith as someone who knows all about the world.

Colin Flannery said...

Frank, I think your answer to question 4 was right on target, throughout the story Smith refers to the Indians as savage and evil. You did a great job with citing your work too.

Vinny Condo said...

4.John Smith referred to the Indians as savages and devils multiple times and seemed to have a negative tone as if he thought very little of them and at other times he seemed amazed at their culture.When the Indians came into his tent all painted in black and red he described them as fearful and devilish in nature. Although he described them as barbarians he liked the fact that they were easily pleased with just a few cannons and saved his men from starvation.

Vinny Condo said...

5. God is mentioned on page 2 "Each hour [we were] expecting the fury of the savages, when God, the patron of all good endeavors, in that desperate extremity so changed the hearts of the savages that they brought such plenty of their fruits and provisions that no man wanted." and on page 5 "Thus you may see what difficulties still crossed any good endeavor, and the good success of the business being thus oft brought to the very period of destruction. Yet you see by what strange means God hath still delivered it..." He claims his and his men's success was on the mysterious works of god. He may have effected his readers by influencing their faith in God. Like the second quote was saying, even with difficult endeavors faith in god will help you through it.