Over the past few class sessions, we have looked at Rosa, or American Genius and Education (1810). Published anonymously, the satirical novel presents an interesting examination and discussion for my early American literature survey course. There is a lot that can be looked at in regards to this novel; however, today, I want to focus specifically on the Peruvian Sol who enters the narrative mid-way through the text in chapter four and plays a significant role in the novel’s progression. Specifically, I want to look at his lengthy speech in chapter four in front of a committee in London who wanted to answer the question, “[W]hether the natives of the American continent are as acute and vigorous in their intellect as the natives of Europe, and whether they are as susceptible to mental improvement?”
I always enjoy teaching Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative for a myriad of reasons. It presents students with an early example of that distinctly American genre the captivity narrative, it highlights the role of women in colonial America, it illuminates the colonists’ feelings towards Native Americans, and it serves as a text that showcases Puritan thought during the late 1600s. Today, I want to take the time to look at Louise Erdrich’s “Captivity,” a poem that interrogates and questions the ways that we read Rowlandson’s text. In many ways, Erdrich’s poem touches on the themes and threads mentioned above; however, I will not have time to discuss each of these aspects today.
Note: For this post, I will use Duffy and Jennings’ adaptation of Butler’s Kindred. I have read Butler’s novel, but it has a been a few years. The adaptation closely follows the novel.
On Tuesday, I wrote about the ways that Damian Duffy’s illustrations convey just as much emotion to the reader as Octavia Butler and John Jennings’ words in the graphic novel adaptation of Butler’s Kindred. Today, I want to look at the role of literacy in Kindred. Dana Franklin and her husband Kevin are both writers, and thus have a high level of literacy; however, their abilities to read, write, and more importantly critically interrogate the printed word and even their own surroundings do not protect them when they travel to Antebellum Maryland. It is this aspect of Kindred that I want to look at a little more closely.