J.M. Coetzee: Foe / Chinua Achebe: Anthills of the Savannah / Jean Rhys: Wide Sargaso Sea Also: John Smith: A Description of New England.William Bradford: Of Plymouth PlantationAnne Bradstreet:...
What are the most important narrative strategies of the novels?
Comment on the structure of the novels.
Discuss the depiction of the natives in the novel.
What is their relationship to British novels? Name the British model, explain the differences and give any reason for using those British novels as models or countermodels.
Discuss the language that authors use in the novels.
William Bradford and Anne Bradstreet were Puritans who wrote in an objective style. However, Bradford's depiction of the Native Americans is first that they are "savage barbarians," accusing them of "skulking" and running off. Later, though, he notices the friendliness and knowledge of Samoset. And, finally, Bradford calls Squanto "a special instrument of God."
Bradstreet certainly displays Puritan stoicism in her poem "Upon the Burning of our House" as the Puritan belief is that it is sinful to place too much value on personal possessions. In other poems, despite the Puritan emphasis upon the hereafter, Bradstreet emphasizes life as she so often recalls her deep love for family.
Of these three works, I have only read Foe, which can be described as an epistolary novel in form. At least this is true of the first two sections of the book. Much of the text takes the form of "told story" or meta-narrative meaning that the content of the book features characters telling stories within the larger structure of the narrative.
This is different than having a character narrate the story because in meta-narratives like Foe there is another narrative figure implied outside of the characters.