Reflections on Hope Leslie

Magawisca: A Noble Savage

Hope Leslie by Catherine Sedgwick was an interesting and fun book to read. The themes of religion, escape, family and others were enticing and fulfilling! Magawisca was a favorite character of mine. There are things that I dislike/liked about her description and her role throughout the book.

When Magawisca was introduced, she was received as “graceful… [and] beautiful even to a European eye” (pg. 26), this seems like an insult. It is almost as if the author is saying she is good, but not good enough. Nonetheless, she was described to have much dignity and thoughtfulness and had an “imagination that breathed a living spirit into all the objects of Nature” (pg 119). She was often said to be a ‘young savage‘ too, which I found interesting because Magawisca scores many compliments, however her roots are never forgotten.

Does Magawisca fit the ‘noble savage’ archetype? Definitely. In the eyes of the Flecther’s (not including Everell) Magawisca is considered savage but actually Magawisca has qualities that make her gentle to the human race as a whole. When Everell was held captive by Mononotto, Magawisca begged and pleaded “why hath my father’s soul stooped from its ever upward flight? Till this day his knife was never attained with innocent blood… Oh, spare him!” (pg 108). Mononotto was very reckless because of the pain he endured when his children were “swept away like the withered leaves before the wind” (pg 108), and did not care for Magawisca friend, Everell. The most exciting part about his removal was Everell’s escape, which was conducted by Magawisca.

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2 thoughts on “Magawisca: A Noble Savage

  1. Your opening paragraph was short but quite concise nonetheless. My blog post was also about this idea of Magawisca being portrayed as a noble savage, so it nice to read a different interpretation from mine, where you speak more of Magawisca’s deep connection to nature. Something we both discussed in our posts in our blog post was the scene where Magawisca shows an act of kindness toward an unexpected recipient: the white Everll. I like how you mention the pain Mononotto had that resulted in this act of revenge, and how it reflects the same kind of dislike the whites and Native Americans have towards each other because of their ill-constructed relationships.

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