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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

7. Slavery and

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•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities

Lorenzo Asisara - Author Questions

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  1. Comprehension: What kinds of abuses do Asisara and the other Mission Indians experience at the hands of the Franciscans? How do the Indians respond to these abuses? What sorts of strategies do they adopt to resist the Mission authorities and to improve their conditions?

  2. Context: Compare Asisara's description of the riot in defiance of Padre Olbes with Frederick Douglass's account of his fight with Edward Covey. What similarities do you find between these two incidents of slave resistance? How are the incidents different? Does Asisara seem to acquire the same kind of self-confidence and sense of independence that Douglass does from his act of rebellion? Why or why not?

  3. Exploration: Asisara's narrative implicitly critiques the piety and morality of the Catholic priests who enslaved California Indians under the pretext of converting them to Christianity. Can you think of other slave narratives that engage in similar critiques, calling the religious pretensions of slaveholders into question? Why would this have been a popular and effective rhetorical strategy?

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