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epic hero

Read The General History of Virginia and A Description of New England (attachment). Then, in the appropriate Discussions topic, post your response to the writings of John Smith. Share your likes/dislikes, ask questions, give specifics that support the outline below, etc.

Captain John Smith

Smith gave the most famous contemporary account of the founding of Jamestown in 1607. Smith was a swaggering, headstrong, unscrupulous, capable soldier, and bold leader. He was definitely a great propagandist, creating glorious pictures of a New World in which riches were available for anyone who would avail himself of them. He was able to create beautiful pictures, was very convincing, but notoriously inaccurate in details.

Note how he describes his adventures by using the third person to discuss himself. Why do you think he does this? Pay specific attention to sections where he describes himself as being almost on the level of a superhero. Also, note the lists of riches to be found in the New World how do these descriptions compare to those given by Columbus?

Here is an outline of important ideas to pay attention to as you read:

1. Propaganda Reasons for colonization

a. profits for investors

b. markets for English manufacturers

c. glory for the colonizers and their monarch

d. abundant raw materials

e. good health for colonists

f. riches

g. freedom from harsh landlords, from lawbreaking multitudes, from tedious pleas in law

h. abundance of land

i. the bringing of poor savages to know Christ and humanity

j. work for the poor, the idle, orphans, and apprentices

k. sport for gentlemen

2. Use of poetry

a. reemphasizes and summarizes the ideas in passages that precede the quotations

b. makes philosophical observations on the nature of the world

c. demonstrates his own piety and learning

d. implies that the ancients themselves would ratify his judgments and actions

3. Similarities between Smith and epic heroes

a. leads people to a new land

b. acts as diplomat and lawgiver

c. makes speeches before foreign kings

d. quiets dissention among his people

e. heals the sick and injured

f. tours a hellish region where he encounters demons and fiends

g. engages in combat

h. is recognized even by enemies as brave

i. suffers from a mysterious wound

j. triumphs through bravery, strength, guile, and cleverness

k. is self-confident.

Solution Preview

I found these selections to be quite interesting. However, I admit that I was confused at times as Smith referred to himself in third person. This could be a sign of self confidence, or simply a sign of arrogance. Smith uses much propaganda in his writing to entice others. Investors would be interested in the great amounts of profits that Smith claims could be made from fish, furs, and raw materials (Smith 59). He speaks to English manufacturers when he describes using freestone to build, ...

Solution Summary

Captain John Smith is described and validated as an epic hero in the solution.