Reflections on Hope Leslie

Noble–what now?

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This image is a screenshot from a powerful video pertaining to the recently passes Columbus Day; see bottom.

In my own personal life, I learned about this thing called “radical acceptance” which is where someone does just that–they accept a thing for what it is and through there own process come to terms with the thing they are faced with. But what I didn’t ask was for how long had people been doing this? Tolerance is so sparse in this country of ours that it could be considered one of America’s truest past times–otherring and rejecting people, I mean. The fear of differences is too great for many people to consider overcoming them. Here is where our Magawisca from Hope Leslie comes in.

 

The Magical Magawisca, as I will refer to her, demonstrates bravery, intelligence, willfulness, and many other redeeming qualities for the characters and readers alike to behold. Yet, we never quite appreciate the full scope of these characteristics because they are constantly shadowed by her difference from the other characters in the novel, “Her face, although marked by the peculiarities of her race, was beautiful even to a European eye” (Sedgwick 23). She is different from her Puritan housemates–I hesitate to call them family–for the obvious reasons of her being Native American and everything that implies; yet she is also different from her fellow Native Americans in that she cannot fully dedicate herself to their cause, particularly when she saves Everell. She cannot be referred to as a “nobel savage” because she never fully fits into either category. She exists separate from everything that surrounds her, becoming a fuller, more unique character, for better or worse.

This is demonstrated by Magical Magawisca’s absences in the novel–whole years pass before we see her again, and when she does reappear, it is to warn Hope about the radical change that awaits her back home. Her function in the story would be so different if her character were to have as much spotlight as Hope, but for what is provided of the text, her role is limited to being a savior–not that of the strong, independent woman she is. Even in the prologue we get a glimpse of Magawisca’s character being “…no prototype among the aborigines of this country. Without citing Pocohontas, or any other individual, as authority, it may be sufficient to remark, than in such delineations, we are confined not to the actual, but the possible” (Sedgwick 4). She is made to be unique, and although we as 21st century readers may come to love her, for this there will always be a suffering to her character as never being fully understood. In her uniqueness, she is alone; we can put her on the pedestal she has earned for herself, but her singularity may also be damning.

Also, here’s a link to the video where this popular “Fuck Christopher Columbus” meme came from.

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3 thoughts on “Noble–what now?

  1. First off, I love the picture! Secondly, your introduction was very powerful and touching. I agree, (sadly) with the concept of our country not being tolerant– I personally blame technology for that. I think not enough of us are reflecting on nature and taking a few steps back– but that’s an entirely different story. I liked your quote, “She is different from her Puritan housemates” because this is so true. It makes me think; did the Natives teach the Puritans? We could all answer that in different ways. Your thinking on Magawisca’s character being like Hope’s “spotlight” would definitely be different, and I’m sure intresting, and really makes you think. Overall, great post and expressions!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The picture and video are life giving. Your use of humor to get your point across was really enjoyable. Magawisca is not entirely a flat character but she’s not rounded either. She reminds me of the problems contemporary audiences find with the movie Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Long story short, both Magawisca and Sydney Poitier are othered in their status as people of color and made into nearly mythical beings as opposed to being allowed to have flaws. Magawisca is superhuman but more emphasis on super as opposed to human.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the picture it highlights the cruelty the the Natives had to endure due to the westerners arriving on their soil. the westerners felt the Natives were inferior to them because they were less technologically advance and had different practices from them. I agree its hard to call the Purtians family because Magawisca was insulted early on when she has a servant to the Fletchers was stated her life even as a servant would be better than life with the Natives. Magawisca also relates to Pochantas due to helping a white boy esvape punishment from an angry Native nice comparasion

    Liked by 1 person

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