Reflections on Hope Leslie

Hopeless – lie

When I first started to attend school here in America, I was forced to take a different English class than all the other kids in my class. The kids in this class were a bit different, and each had some peculiar quality about them that made them stand out, perhaps in a less socially accepted way. To be frank, the kids in this class were basically the people that no other kids in the regular classes want to talk to. (To further readings about my journey of finding my American Identity – https://environmentandamericanlit.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/the-american-identity-of-an-immigrant/)

It was in that classroom full of misfits and socially unacceptable outcasts (at least in an elementary school environment) where I learned that no matter how much we fight for it, equality is nothing but an impossible ideal. We are all fundamentally different, some of us are males, some of us are females, some of us are white, some of us are black, etc. To say these things from the opposite sides of the spectrum are the same is blatantly ignoring all of human individuality. (Interesting short story highlighting the problems of equality – https://archive.org/stream/HarrisonBergeron/Harrison%20Bergeron_djvu.txt) At the same time, to say that just because they are different that one quality is more valuable than another is also ultimately being ignorant. Just because blue and orange are on the opposite sides of the color wheel does not mean that blue has more value than orange or vice versa. (Interesting poem about the problems of racism – http://the-poets-voice.weebly.com/racism.html)

color_wheel_traditional
http://www.nhsdesigns.com/graphic/color/color-wheel.php

It is here in this moment where we turn to Hope Leslie, a novel about Magawisca, a Native American woman and her time spent in a repressive Puritan society. In the novel, the faithful servant Magawisca, in an attempt to save the life of her master, loses her arm. This incident which portrays the immense amount of loyalty that Magawisca has for Everell is later compensated when Magawisca is imprisoned, but with the help of Everell, Magawisca manages to escape. Even though there is a clear sense of give and take within this situation, ultimately Magawisca knows that even though Everell and Hope desire for her to stay, she is unable to due to the realization that “the Indian and the white man can no more mingle, and become one, than day and night.”

Hope Leslie, while showing the inevitability of inequality, somehow seems to perfectly portray the fact that just because they are opposites does not mean that one is any less valuable than the other during the final moments before Magawisca’s departure.

So while it does seem hopeless for everyone to acknowledge that we are indeed different, if we look to one another and deem them as valuable as we are, just imagine how much more progress our society would have made.

 

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3 thoughts on “Hopeless – lie

  1. I think this was very interesting because of the way that you looked at Hope Leslie in terms of equality. I agree that Hope Leslie does obviously show the power dynamic but I think in that same token, Sedgwick is at least trying to show all the characters as humane and and equally capable of complexity. Except Jennet, she sucks. Furthermore, to comment on your ideas on individuality, I think we are all individuals and are different but are the same in the sense that we are all different. We are equal in the sense that none of us are worth more than the other but not that everything about us is the same. Equality does not always equal sameness and I think thats important to point out. Loved the color wheel by the way, that was what immediately captured my attention and made me check out your post.

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  2. Your introduction brought me back to when I first started kindergarten. My first language is Spanish and so I too had a similar experience. I was placed in a bilingual classroom in which I was forced to learn English. I can say that my experience as a child in that classroom setting made me feel isolated and different. I agree with your post, especially your conclusion. If we begin to see others as valuable, it might be one giant step towards making this society better. Your resources are very interesting. I especially like that you incorporated the color wheel as an example in your post.

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  3. If I am honest, I was initially unsure of what direction you were going in the beginning of your blog but the photo of the color wheel had me hooked in! You tied your argument in well with the events from the book that you chose to include. What a powerful scene that was when Magawisca was willing to lay down her life for her master. You made an interesting and important point that in that scene you really see that one life is not worth more or less than another and once people have a perspective change, things will turn around. Very interesting read!

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