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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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4. Spirit of Nationalism   

4. Spirit of Nationalism

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Activities: Author Activities

William Apess - Author Questions

Back Back to William Apess Activities
  1. Comprehension: In "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man" Apess claims that the Indians of New England are "the most mean, abject, miserable race of beings in the world." Why, according to Apess, has Native American society reached such a low point? What reasons does he give for the Indians' abjection?

  2. Context: In the opening paragraphs of his "Eulogy on King Philip," Apess twice compares Metacomet to George Washington. Why do you think Apess would have been interested in likening his Native American ancestor to Washington? How does he compare the respective "American Revolutions" led by each man? What associations and sentiments might Apess have been trying to generate in his Boston audience?

  3. Context: How does Apess's use of Christian values and biblical quotations in "An Indian's Looking-Glass" compare to Phillis Wheatley's use of Christian imagery and language in her poetry?

  4. Exploration: Like Samson Occom, Apess trained as a minister and adopted white Christian values only to become frustrated by the disparity between Christian teachings and the harsh realities of white treatment of Native Americans. How does Apess's "An Indian's Looking-Glass" compare to Samson Occom's "A Short Narrative of My Life"? What experiences do they have in common? Do they use similar strategies to protest unfair treatment of Native Americans? How are their protests different? How do they characterize white prejudice?

  5. Exploration: Apess was greatly influenced by the early Cherokee writers and the Cherokee struggle for their lands and for autonomy. Compare Apess's polemical works to the Cherokee Memorials. What rhetorical strategies do they share? What is the purpose of each work?

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