Nineteenth-Century Representations of Native Americans Criticism: Indian Hater Fiction - Essay

Louise K. Barnett (essay date 1975)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Nineteenth-Century Indian Hater Fiction: A Paradigm for Racism,” in South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 2, Spring, 1975, pp. 224-36.

[In the following essay, Barnett provides an overview of Indian Hater fiction and discusses the conventions associated with the genre.]


Pre-Civil War frontier fiction is predominantly concerned with the Indian-white confrontation along the frontier as background for the development of a conventional genteel love story. Within this category, the subgenre of Indian hater fiction has a different emphasis. Using as protagonist the familiar frontier figure of the Indian hater, this group of novels and...

(The entire section is 4673 words.)

Robert D. Newman (essay date 1988)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Indians and Indian-Hating in Edgar Huntly and The Confidence Man,” in Melus, Vol. 15, No. 3, Fall, 1988, pp. 65-74.

[In the following essay, Newman discusses the figure of the Indian Hater in novels by Charles Brockden Brown and Herman Melville, and suggests that in both works, savagery is attributed to both Indians and whites.]

“Hate the evil, and love the good.”

Amos 5.15

“We cannibals must help these Christians.”

Queequeg in Moby-Dick

Grounded in a contrast between a white civilization based on religious morality and the primitive savagery of the Indians, the...

(The entire section is 4212 words.)

Stephen Matterson (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Indian-Hater, Wild Man: Melville's Confidence-Man,” in Arizona Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 2, Summer, 1996, pp. 21-35.

[In the following essay, Matterson discusses Melville's use of the Indian Hater character, claiming that Melville considered him a central figure in American attitudes toward Native Americans and implicated the government, the judicial system, and organized religion as participants in these attitudes.]

The last novel Herman Melville published in his lifetime has been considered his most problematic. The Confidence-Man (1857) is especially difficult because four chapters, 25-28, are concerned with Indian-hating, and offer a...

(The entire section is 5194 words.)