William Apess Criticism - Essay

Kim McQuaid (essay date 1977)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "William Apes, Pequot: An Indian Reformer in the Jackson Era, " in The New England Quarterly, Vol. 50, December, 1977, pp. 605-625.

[In the following excerpt from an essay on Apess 's life and the history of the Pequot in New England, McQuaid comments on Eulogy on King Philip.]

The Mashpees' successful struggle for added measures of self-government stood as one of the very few substantial victories for Indian Rights in the 1830's. Indian groups hung on to tribal territories in New England and New York, but, in the remainder of the nation, removal followed removal. The growing debate over the abolition of slavery relegated the plight of the American Indian to a...

(The entire section is 1165 words.)

Arnold Krupat (essay date 1989)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Monologue and Dialogue in Native American Autobiography, " in The Voice in the Margin: Native American Literature and the Canon, University of California Press, 1989, pp. 132-201.

[In the following excerpt, Krupat examines Apess 's major works, particularly A Son of the Forest, concluding that in this volume Apess attempted to "subsume all voices to the single voice of Christian salvationism."]

Born in 1798 of a mixed blood father and a Pequot mother, William Apes suffered through a particularly brutal childhood. He learned Christian doctrine along with his letters from white foster parents—with whom, for all their kindnesses, he did not dwell long....

(The entire section is 3862 words.)

A. La Vonne Brown Ruoff (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Nineteenth-Century American Indian Autobiographers, " in Redefining American Literary History, edited by A. La Vonne Brown Rouff and Jerry Ward, Jr., The Modern Language Association of America, 1990, pp. 251-69.

[Ruoff is an American educator and critic who specializes in Native American literature. In the following excerpt, she discusses the narrative style and techniques Apess employed in his autobiography, A Son of the Forest.]

The first published, full-life history written by an Indian is William Apes's Son of the Forest: The Experience of William Apes, a Native of the Forest (1829). Published in the midst of the controversy over [the Indian Removal...

(The entire section is 1598 words.)

David Murray (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Christian Indians: Samson Occom and William Apess, " in Forked Tongues: Speech, Writing, and Representation in North American Indian Texts, Pinter Publishers, 1991, pp. 49-64.

[Murray is a British educator and critic who specializes in American Studies. Below, he analyzes the rhetorical strategies Apess employed in his major works.]

[Apes's autobiography A Son of the Forest] conforms to the overall pattern of the conversion narrative in which, after many lapses and tribulations, he is rescued from rum and degradation by Christianity, but in telling his story he has another agenda as well, a criticism of white attitudes, carried out in a whole series of...

(The entire section is 3616 words.)

Philip F. Gura (review date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of "On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, A Pequot," in The New England Quarterly, Vol. LXV, No. 4, 1992, pp. 652-54.

[Gura is an American educator and critic. In the following review, he lauds Apess as "a writer of great importance and power. "]

As those who follow tempests in the academic teapot can testify, for a decade now, particularly after the publication of the much-discussed Heath Anthology of American Literature, the canon of nineteenth-century American literature has been radically altered. In college classrooms all over America Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catharine Maria Sedgwick jostle Hawthorne and Melville, and...

(The entire section is 865 words.)

Carl L. Bankston III (review date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of "On Our Own Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apess, A Pequot," in The Bloomsbury Review, Vol. 13, No. 3, May-June, 1993, p. 3.

[In the following review, Bankston discusses major themes in Apess's writing and assesses his effectiveness as a critic of American policy toward native peoples.]

In For Those Who Come After, a study of Native American autobiography, Arnold Krupat remarks that the Indian autobiography is not a traditional form of narration. It is an art whose performance entails crossing boundaries of mentality as well as those of craft. Indigenous autobiographers use a language that is not simply foreign but is inimical to...

(The entire section is 1358 words.)

Carolyn Haynes (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'A Mark for Them All to … Hiss At': The Formation of Methodist and Pequot Identity in the Conversion Narrative of William Apess," in Early American Literature, Vol. 31, No. 1, 1996, pp. 25-44.

[In this essay, Haynes examines concepts of identity in Apess's autobiography and Christian conversion narrative, A Son of the Forest.]

Despite the fact that his literary output was among the most prolific of any Native American in the early nineteenth century and that he led the only successful Indian revolt in New England prior to 1850, the writings of William Apess, a Pequot Indian, have received relatively little critical attention. One possible reason for the...

(The entire section is 8653 words.)

Barry O'Connell (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'Once More Let Us Consider': William Apess in the Writing of New England Native American History," in After King Philip's War: Presence and Persistence in Indian New England, edited by Colin G. Calloway, University Press of New England, 1997, pp. 162-77.

[In the essay below, O'Connell examines Apess's role in the documentation of Native American history in New England, concluding that Apess was a part of "a dissenting intellectual culture about which historians yet know little."]

In what was once the conventional version of New England and much of American history, William Apess was a nobody. Born into poverty in 1798 in a tent in the woods in Colrain,...

(The entire section is 8043 words.)