Hey everyone! This is one of the body paragraphs to my final paper. I was inspired to write about Magawisca because I do admire her character and how she continues to be badass despite her social status. This is a draft and I will continue to work on it! I will appreciate the criticisms, I feel that I am all over the place. Many thanks and may all the good luck circulate for finals week!
Sedgwick characterizes Magawisca in a positive light, possessing qualities that suit her heroic deeds, but there are underlying meanings of the details. From the moment we first meet Magawisca, she is described as, “Her face, although marked by the peculiarities of her race, was beautiful even to the European eye”(23). It seems that the markings on her face represented her Native American identity was written as peculiar, but it was still acceptable because she looked aesthetically appealing to European standards. This notion undermines her culture, deeming the markings as strange and unsightly, but Magawisca’s beauty still glows beneath it. On the other hand, Magawisca is also stereotyped as a noble savage, with underlying tones of how “well dressed she is” despite her being a Native American. It is portrayed that she held a higher level of intelligence and grace because she was the princess of her tribe. Native Americans were viewed as an inferior group, so acting above what Puritans expected of her race was a special thing about her.
When Magawisca encounters the scalp of what she thought was her father, she is emotionally triggered and demands answers from the Indian of a neighboring tribe. She quickly recovers from the shock and took action for a message to be delivered to her father. It can be seen that Magawisca is diligent and logical to make decisions to receive help. Nina Baym offers another viewpoint and analyzes Magawisca’s perception of, “taking herself very lightly— has no ego, or a damaged one…”(19). She confides in the ability of others to meet her demands. Baym claims that Magawisca falls into the example of how the heroine lacks the confidence to believe in herself. Because of this, she cannot perform heroic deeds yet and she looks for protectors. She does not believe in herself to improve the situation for the better. In this sense, she does find some kind of safe haven at the Fletchers’ house. Magawisca had told Ms. Fletcher, “… thou hast been kind to me as the motherbird that shelters the wanderer in her nest…”(40) to show her gratitude for her kindness and motherly protection. However, Magawisca’s stay with the Fletchers cannot fully be considered “to protect her” but she was taken in as a servant for the household. She is described as being very productive and quick with her work as well as learning new skills in the meantime. She upholds the noble savage definition, where she learns the way of the white man and strays away from her culture.