Sunday, August 4, 2019
New World Travelers: Similar Themes But Different Purposes In Travel W
Travel writers or adventurers all write pieces that deal with the same premise: the discovery and experience of the New World. However, in their writing, it is evident that there is an ulterior motive in mind. These motives or purposes can be classified in two broad categories: to persuade people to come to the new world and to warn people of the dangers they may encounter in the new world. It is easy to explore these themes by paying particular attention a couple of notorious writers: Christopher Columbus, Bartolome De Las Casas, and John Smith. When reading pieces by writers involved in the exploration and settlement on the new world, it is important to keep in mind the audience they were targeting. These pieces were not published in America, but rather were transmitted in Europe, published and read by a widespread European audience. Additionally, these travelers were paid by the government to propagandize the new world and entice readers to want to visit or settle there. With that in place, it is easy to understand how a major purpose for travel writers would be to advertise the new world. Christopher Columbus's letters were considered one of the first reports of the New World. Columbus landed in the West Indies but thought that he was in India. He portrays his surroundings with a conquistador mentality, in that he says the people are savages, and he has taken command of them and they admire him greatly. In "Letter to Luis de Santagel Regarding the First Voyage", he talks about the richness and beauty of the New World using very descriptive imagery and planting the picture of natural abundance in the readers mind. He describes the land, the mountains, the terrain, the animals, birds, and people in such a mann... ... the Christian against the native. His writing reads as a preaching, making it seem like propaganda. Adventurers and travel writers all wrote works with differences in focus, theme and scope, but in the case of Smith, Columbus, and De Las Casas, the themes were similar, even if the purpose behind the argument was different. Works Cited Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2003. Columbus, Christopher. "Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage (February 15, 1493)." Baym 34-36. Las Casas, Bartolome. "The Very Brief Relation of the Devastation of the Indies." Baym 39-40. Smith, John. "A Description of New England." Baym 114-118. Smith, John. "The General history of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles." Baym 105-114.
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