John Smith and William Bradfordare two honorable and successful individuals who achieve their goals throughtheir means of journey in which they face many obstacles yet create a certaincharisma or persona that help them achieve their objectives as they write theirnarratives. Although Captain John Smith andWilliam Bradford, historians and leaders of their own colonies, Jamestown andPlymouth, they anticipated to appeal settlers to their colonies through theirwritings, the means and as well as style to accomplish their goals differentwith their personal beliefs and values. Though both pursued to setforth an example for the colonists they were alluring, Smith strived to attractthose with bravery, dynamism, and an adventurous attitude while Bradford triedto appeal to Godly men and women. Both explicitly described the naturalsetting of the new land, yet Smith always creates an aura of exploration andromance while Bradford focuses on the hardships and struggles experienced bythe colonists accompanied by God’s provision. To encourage these differentvalues and motives, Smith uses elaborate accounts and an ornate style in hisfocus on exploration while Bradford employs biblical allusions, events andsimplicity in his God-centered writing. By comparing and contrastingthe works of these individuals, one can view their personas by the idea oftheir writing styles, which they create, based on the experiences they have hadthroughout their lifetime. These experiences then letsthem continue towards their goals, they also carry a certain persona that otherindividuals looked up to as an inspiration along with having differentlifestyles yet achieve the idea of being successful in their ambitions.
Both, John Smith and William Bradford create a particular writing style that isreflected by the persona that is shaped for their audience to explain theirworks and experiences along with forming the image of the American Identity.The most revolutionary aspect ofJohn Smith’s writing is the use of a strong, charismatic persona. The character of John Smith can be described as a man of action, who is alwaysat the forefront of unsettled situations to which Smith either resolves throughdiscourse or violence. Smith is portrayed ashaving a strong will to survive, having endured starvation and multiple disagreementswith the natives. Smith’s prominence on hispersona stands out from other early New World travel narratives.
Setting up a new ideal of colonial adventure and leadership can distinguishSmith’s persona from those of earlier colonial works because he successfullymanages to capture the imagination of his readers. His persona is fundamentallya propagandistic portrayal of the New World hero. Moreover, In John Smith’snovel, A True Relation, Smith’spersona starts out very confident, arrogant, and independent in his 1616Preface. This idea is carried out by hismasculine manner that he uses that to his advantage.
He is trying to relate to the common man. In Smith’s 1622 Preface, Smithbegins to become bitter but complacent with the fact that he will not get to hoback and lead a colony. He shifts from being pridefulto sarcastic. By 1624, Smith changes to amore mature attitude and gains the favor of women. He addresses lady Francismaking him the romantic hero, the romantic hero along with his experiencefighting in the colonies.
Smith’s 1631 persona shiftsfrom romantic hero to a knowledgeable and wise father figure.He develops a high maturity level in which he is more self-aware.Smith now wants his readers to remember him for what he has done and use it tohelp build new colonies in America. John Smith wrote to persuadepeople to come to the new world to start a new life.”My purpose is not to persuade children from their parents, men from theirwives, nor servants from their masters, only such as with free consent may bespared,” (Smith, 223). This idea states that the onlyperson he wants to influence to come to America is the ones with free will thatwill have a skill of trade or a background to earn an income in the New World.On the contrary, WilliamBradford was an author who wrote about the historical selection of Puritan life.In writing, admiration and daily living, the Puritans preferred the traditionaland simple.
William Bradford wrote in whatis considered the ‘plain style.’ This form of writing was usedby many Puritan authors and was believed to be straightforward and tothe point. The plain style consisted ofsimple sentences and language that was used on an everyday basis.In his works, he breaks down his ideas and beliefs for his readers, for them tobe able to understand.
It never had specific literary elements or figures of speech; however,Bradford did include allusions of other English authors, which coincided withhis thoughts about religion and faith. A good example of his ‘plainand traditional style’ is found in the passage from Bradford’s Of PlymouthPlantation, “They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, andto fit up their houses against winter, being all well recovered in health andstrength and had all things in good plenty.” William took thisotherwise exciting story of the Puritans’ first winter and enclosed it all intoone monotonous sentence. Bradford’s word choice ordiction exemplified the ‘plain style’ and that was all the Puritan societywould read or hear for quite some time.
In the article, “Contributionto Early America: Settlers, Natives, and Writing History,” the author furtherexplains the writing style of William Bradford in which they explain that Bradford is different from some of the other writers fromthis time because he wasn’t very courageous or daring. Unlike the colonists, such as John Smith and his associationwith the Indians or Christopher Columbus who attended a voyage, didn’t capturehim. He was famous forbeing a governor of the Massachusetts Colony.
“In his writing, Of Plymouth Plantation Bradfordexplains why he left England.This was strictly for religious reasoning, as the English did not acceptPuritans.Bradford also explains further about the great things he heard about the NewWorld as well as the Native people. He state negative thoughts and ideas about the Nativesalthough he has never met them; saying settlers “should be in continual dangerof the savage people who are cruel, barbarous, and most treacherous being mostfurious in their rage and merciless” (Bardford 1622). Even so, Bradford became well known because of his writings. He also becomes legendary for being governor of the Colony andbecoming significant to American history and religious freedom. Though each leader wrote about similar experiences, Smith’suse of an elaborate and descriptive writing style emphasizes his overallmessage that the colonies are a place of anticipation and will define the ideaof being adventurous and a journey. The wise point of view he employs seems to glorify himselfas the original of a colonial settler and it heightens and gives credibility tohis History’s great periods or experiences.
Contrariwise, Bradford focuses on God, not himself, and engagesa personally controlled and simplistic view in his writing. “Let them therefor praise the Lord, because He is good andHis mercies endure forever.Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how He hath deliveredthem from the oppressor.When they wandered in the desert of wilderness out of the way, and found nocity to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them.
Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness and Hiswonderful works before the sons of men.” (Bradford). The beliefs and style represented in Captain John Smith and William Bradfordwidely distributed works reflected their own beliefs and attitudes. Wanting to attract settlers to their colonies through theirwritings, they wrote in such a way as to accomplish this ambition with suchdetermination.
Asan example for the colonists that joined them, Smith attempted to attract thosewith courage and an adventurous spirit while Bradford tried to appeal to theGodly men and women.While each delivered the sense of an uncultivated setting in the New World,Smith emphasized the sense of quest and creating relationships while Bradfordfocused on the hardships, difficulties, and wisdom experienced by the colonists. Finally, in spite of the fact that each wrote about similarexperiences, Smith uses elaborate descriptions and writing style in his focuson adventure while Bradford employs biblical allusions and simplicity in hisGod-focused writing. The birth of a new Americannation required early Americans to create a new historical identity, and itgave them an aspiration to both discover their historical backgrounds andestablish the roles various individuals played in the genesis of their newcollective existence.
To create the newAmerican Identity was important, as they no longer wanted to follow the sameideals and beliefs as the British. They had to opportunity to create a morefree-spirited identity that would then follow into further generations. Smithand Bradford envision America and play leadership positions that supportAmerican Identity-which also helps with the idea of American Masculinity. These ideas thatallow a formation of American idea conveys a sense of unity amongst the people. As for John Smith, byanalyzing the repeated development of the insights and uses of Smith,specifically within the framework of how he is related to American identity,one will see how the narratives of Smith have continued to be political, traditional,and social frontlines on which the dialogues of various ideas and interestgroups strive for power over defining American identity. According to The American Dream of Captain JohnSmith, written by Leo Lemay, the idea of American identity was first commendedby Smith, who “thoroughly identified with America.
“(Lemay, 53). Lemay also states that Smith planned forAmerica to become a realm or land of the future that presented an individualthe opportunity to re-create himself “Itis Captain John Smith,” the author says in his book, “who founded the Americanbelief in the common man and who devoted his life to the greatest AmericanDream – the secular, unselfish, idealistic faith in a better way of life forthe ordinary person.” The author believes that Smith exceededviewing America through what was considered the British sight, that atransformation from an Englishman to an American occurred, and that Smith couldsee that “America provided the opportunity for an individual’s standing insociety to be determined by hard work and achievement rather than socialposition.” It was important for the colonists andsettlers to refrain from going back to what was considered British Identity.There were hopes and dream to create a whole other identity, one that did notsimulate to the British roles and beliefs. Lemay describes Smith as one whomodels the image of an American, owning in an untainted form, thecharacteristics and traits that one believes should be critically accepted andrespected. The author further states that Smith “valuedindividuals for their hard work and personal achievements, not for their socialstanding,” Smith viewed America as a place for personal change, and Smith’swritings became the first major vision of the American Dream.
The author attributes several American ideals,such as equality and patriotism, to Smith’s character. It identifies with the character and personathat Smith creates for himself, being proud and confident in his work andbeliefs and later fulfilling his goals that allows him to feel worthy of histasks and create the image of American Identity.