AIS 100 Final

AIS 100 Final - AIS 100 Final 1 From the very beginning of...

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AIS 100 Final 1. From the very beginning of William Apess’s “Eulogy on King Philip” it is clear that Apess is not writing from a Euro-American prospective. Apess starts by comparing King Philip to legendary white figures of powers such as “Alexander the Great, or…Washington” and noting that his audience has “patriotism…engraven on [their] hearts” (Apess 277). These statements show that Apess is writing to white Americans about a figure that he views as equivalent to the Revolutionary War leader George Washington. The controversy from a white perspective is the comparison of a Native “war leader” to the first American War hero. It is this controversy that Apess concentrates and expands on throughout the eulogy that proves the Native perspective of the text. Apess then uses irony to flip the stereotypic roles of white Americans and Native Americans in order to rewrite American history. One of the first instances of this role reversal is when Apess introduces King Philip as a man whose “patience and resignation borne, [was] in a manner that would do justice to any Christian nation or being in the world—especially when we realize that it was voluntary suffering” (Apess 278). Here King Philip is not only portrayed as a “good Christian”, but is almost compared to Jesus Christ for his voluntary suffering. Apess starts to deconstruct the stereotype as the Native as a savage, and begins to portray them as a “civilized people” in a way that the average white American of 1836 would understand; by comparing them and making them seem more like Christians. Philip is also portrayed as a civilized man, as he attempts to undergo the white legal process, thus trying to avoid war. This is shown in the complaints Philip submitted to the courts in 1668 and 1671 (Apess 291-292). However, according to Apess, despite King Philip’s attempts to the courts, his complaints were ignored due to many reasons, one being that “he had not been quite so civil as they wished him to be” (Apess
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293). The irony in Apess’s words is that no matter how civil King Philip conducted himself, his status as a Native man made all of his actions uncivilized and savage in the white legal system. Though Apess attempts to portray King Philip as a civilized, Christian-like man, his attempts to deconstruct white Christians into a savage people are much more abundant and perhaps more effective towards his white Christian audience. Apess turns Christians into savages by indicating their hypocrisies practiced by the settling Pilgrims. An example of this is when Apess explicitly says, “O thou pretended hypocritical Christian, whoever thou art, to say it was the design of God that we should murder and slay one another because we have the power” (Apess 279). This hypocrisy is elaborated on many times throughout the text: “But it is certain the Pilgrims knew better than to break the commands of their Lord and Master; they knew that is was written, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’” (Apess
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course AIS 1100 taught by Professor Cheyfitz, e during the Fall '07 term at Cornell.

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AIS 100 Final - AIS 100 Final 1 From the very beginning of...

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