Friday, October 8, 2010

Samson Occom: A Short Narrative of My Life

This week, I took a particular interest in Samson Occom’s narrative. There is an overall theme in this narrative of struggle in the Native American community. Occom tries to make a name for himself, but gets cheated by Mr. Wheelock. At the same time, Occom discovers his own religion and becomes a pertinent preacher in the Native American community. Because I also studied Occom in my Native American Literature class, I enjoyed studying him and analyzing the speech more in depth in this class.

Occom plays a very significant role because he set a precedent for Native American Literature in English. Occom was a Mohegan who wrote “A Short Narrative” to refute the claims that he was a showcase. This happened during the First Great Awakening, a religious revival that was focused on a burst of Christianity. The focus during the First Great Awakening was on the Bible rather than the church. This narrative resonated with other Native Americans because they were able to read it and interpret, and feel like they are connected to a bigger population.

The most famous and shocking part of Occom’s narrative is the anecdote he tells about a “Poor Indian boy”. “He said, he did not know, but he Supposed it was because hi could not drive any better; but says he, I drive as well as I know; and at other Times he Beats me, because he is of a mind to beat me; but says he believes he Beats me for the most of the Time “ because I am an Indian”(409).

I believe Occom tells the anecdote to convey a theme about inequality between the British and Native Americans. This anecdote is supposed to capture the Native American audience, and convey the theme of strife. As much as the “Poor Indian boy” tries, he gets defeated by his master because his master is known as the superior.

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