How does Caleb assimilate to life in Puritan society?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One way in which Caleb assimilates is through his name change.  He takes the name "Caleb" as a nod to Puritan society.  This social setting would have seen his indigenous name as "idolatry" or something that breaks the covenant between human being and the Puritan divine.  Additionally, Caleb elects to study and further his study at Harvard.  This is representative of how Caleb embraces the Puritan ethic of formal study and movement away from his own Wampanoag roots.  Additionally, Brooks depicts Caleb as experiencing academic success. The fact that Caleb does not oppose the imposition of Puritan ways upon him and actually strives to do well in a more Puritan setting at Harvard than his own indigenous setting reflects his assimilation towards life in the Puritan way. While Caleb is aware of "the other" in terms of his own rootes, he is shown to embrace the assimilation of moving into Puritan social settings and adhering to their expectations of the good.  Caleb's most emphatic nod to Puritan assimilation is that he really shows little in way of opposition to Puritanical notions of the good.  It is evident that there is discrimination against the Native Americans and the desire to convert them from "idolatry" into Puritan notions of the good are both evident.  Caleb is not an agent of change in this regard. He does not stage mass rebellion.  Rather, he is shown to be affirm assimilation through his actions in the narrative.

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