Sade Sims

The General History of Virginia is the story of John Smith on his way to the New World in 1607 and his encounters with the Native Americans. John Smith writes in third person when referencing himself. He also refers to the Native Americans as barbarians and savages. When John Smith talks about how long he was held captive by the Native American he uses a hyperbole saying that he was held prisoner for six or seven weeks.

  • Natives are welcoming to the Europeans despite the English thinking that the Natives would be hostile to them. Instead of trying to hurt the English, they welcomed them with food.
  • It takes 5 months to reach Virginia after being blown off course. Due to their late arrival, they miss planting season and therefore have a harsh winter without much food.
  • John Smith tells the Natives about the way the earth works so they spared his life.
  • John Smith seems to be initiated into the tribe by a mock execution in which his life is "spared" by Pocahontas.
  • John Smith has to get two guns and cannons in order to be accepted as Powhatan's son.

"The patron of all good endeavors, in that desperate extremity so changed the hearts of the savages, that they brought such plenty of their fruits and provision, as no man wanted" (35).
The natives that John Smith referred to as savages were hospitable to John Smith and the Englishmen. They brought them so much food that they were not able to eat it all. Despite the natives good deeds, the Englishmen wondered if they were being fattened to be eaten by those they called savages that were treating them so well.

"But almighty God (by his divine providence) had mollified the hearts of those stern barbarians with compassion" (40).
The Englishmen believed that the only reason that the natives were treating them well was because they believed that God was on their side. They felt that God was using the natives to provide for them. IT seems as if the Englishmen do not believe that the natives, since they feel are so barbaric, are able to do things that would be helpful to others.

"The Queen of Appamatuck was appointed to bring him water to wash his hands, and another brought him a bunch of feathers, instead of a towel to dry them" (39).
Once again the Englishmen are ethnocentric because they are looking down on the natives. The Europeans feel that their way of life is the correct way and that any other way is barbaric and does not make sense. John Smith mentions that feathers, a part of native culture, are used to dry with instead of a towel, a part of English culture, and makes it seem as though using anything other than a towel is savage. The action of kindness of Queen of Appatmatuck at that point does not even matter as much.