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Writing the Situation of the Indians - 'Summer on the lakes' by Margaret Fuller.

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Introduction

WRITING THE SITUATION OF THE INDIANS: MARGARET FULLER'S Summer on the Lakes, in 1843. Once we were dealing with Native americans writers I felt attracted by this group. But mainly by the racial struggle of this minoritary and defeated original culture of the United States. This issue was present almost in each one of the writers who have been studied. So a question arose: 'why not focus this essay in one of them: from Sitkala-Sa to Louise Erdrich?' the question had an easy answer to me: It would be less exciting, because it seems obvious that Indians might make a self-defense of their own culture. But it was more interesting to me investigate why Margaret Fuller with Summer on the Lakes -being a New England woman and not a Native American writer- was so interested in the defense of the Indian problem or at least in the criticism of the role played by the colonist and the effect on the Indian population. I discovered soon it was not an easy task, but once I re-read and studied with accuracy the text's selection of Summer on the Lakes, in 1843; Margaret Fuller's biography and literary career and the historical background about the Native Americans at the time, It seemed to me be worthy to be tried: Firstly, Let's see something about the author and her literary and philosophical group: Sarah Margaret Fuller was one of the most influential personalities of her day in American literary circles. ...read more.

Middle

It was a genial form of narrative that served as a meeting place for various narrative voices, literary styles, levels of speech, and kinds of subjects, combining disparate modes of discourse without necessarily generating any tension among them or forging them into a 'higher unity'. With no necessary form other than that of the journey they purported to describe and no necessary single purpose more important than the various purposes of the various parts and voices. Fuller's only completed travel book, Summer on the Lakes, in 1843 sound a variety of voices that are sometimes attributed to others, sometimes derived from generic conventions and models, sometimes clearly Fuller's own. Her travel writing makes all of these voices interact, thus expressing a subtle, complicated understandig of politics and culture, and of the Americans. The tone, the technique, and the purposes remain similarly mixed throughout the book: she includes more anecdotes, original poems, conventionally rhapsodic appreciations of scenery, critical observations of western life (like the topic in which we are interested), and long interpolated tales, all held together not by a single voice or subject but by the simple fact that they coexist in the same text and the same consciousness. This does not make every page of the book indispensable, nor does it ensure that every sequence and passage comment neatly on every other. ...read more.

Conclusion

More or less by her influence we consider that despite dirty, Indians were really the uncorrupted beings till they had not contact with whites society. In the same page 330 -after this quotation-, till the end of our selection of Summer on the Lakes, the criticism is focused on the role played by Presbyterian who brought religion as part of Western civilization (so it was really part of the corruption) and they saw the Native American as evil beings, just as the others, who had to be christianized. But we feel sympathy toward the Indian, because of the influence of Fuller's description: "until broken from their old anchorage by intercourse with the whites...were singularly virtuous, if virtue...consists in a man acting up to his own ideas of right..." Fuller ends with a direct address, which is really a criticism on the role played by the missionary: "Let the missionary, instead of preaching to Indian, preach to the trader who ruins him..." As we can see with all these examples, and just to finish with our essay, more than "poetic impressions" of her visit to the Midwest she does a harsh criticism of many themes, and among them we have chosen this of the Indian situation. ...read more.

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