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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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1. Native Voices   

1. Native Voices

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Activities: Author Activities

Thomas Harriot - Author Questions

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  1. Comprehension: What does Harriot emphasize about North America and its native inhabitants?

  2. Comprehension: What precisely does Harriot object to in the religion of Native Americans?

  3. Context: A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia is largely an advertisement for European settlement in the New World. How do you see Harriot constructing his description of the New World in order to make it seem attractive to ambitious Europeans? How does his view of the New World compare to Williams's?

  4. Context: To what extent is A Brief and True Report a conduct book for the English? Conduct books were manuals that sought to inculcate proper etiquette, behavior, and therefore values in their readers. In what ways does Harriot advise the English to behave in the New World?

  5. Context: Compare Harriot's description of the Roanokes' dress with "The Manner of Their Attire and Painting Themselves" [7429]. Has White taken any liberties or filled in any gaps?

  6. Exploration: Like Bernal Diaz del Castillo (Unit 2), Harriot emphasizes that he is giving a "true" report. How does Harriot establish the veracity of his report? Does he give any clues to what a false report might be? How do his attempts at establishing authority compare to those of Díaz del Castillo?

  7. Exploration: How do Harriot's objections to native religion show his unspoken assumptions about what is spiritual and what is material?

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