Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Florida Reader: Visions of Paradise from 1530 to the Present

Arrival, disgust, prejudice. That is what marks the greatest problems facing Florida history, even to this modern day. In Maurice O’Sullivan's and Jack C. Lane's The Florida Reader: Visions of Paradise from 1530, settlers of France saw the natives and misjudged them as ugly, savage, inhumane monsters. The natives misjudged the French settlers who were looking for peace as warmongers. One of the greatest examples of misunderstanding in this novel is incredible. For example,the natives resorted to "gift giving and kindness to Rene Laudonniere's men" (O'Sullivan, Lane 85).
After making a pact of peace with Chief Athore, the French returned, but the father of Athore; Satouriwa demanded war upon the French settlers looking for peace. It is apparent that Athore's father had disagreements with his son and was misguided, himself. He provoked war because he wrongly thought that the French were coming to attack him. Racism and prejudice is not only in European nations, but in some Native American cultures as well. This rightly proves that there are situations in which peace is impossible because of clan differences. Moreover, it is more closely related to a misunderstanding of culture and their differences. This misunderstanding is interesting because it is also shown by the Europeans who attempt to convert the disrespected natives into Catholicism. A clash between ideals rendered peace useless. It is interesting in this piece of literature how many times cultures and clans are disrupted just because of lack of effective communication. Conquistadors did not have the introspection or open mindedness to treat the natives as humans, rather like animals. However, in all fairness in encounters such as Laudonniere's, even prejudice was prevalent among the Native American Chief Satouriwa because of his mistake of assuming that the men under Laudonniere's command were looking for war, not peace. In history, the most interesting subject for me has always been understanding how one mistake of misunderstanding or mistrust would lead to prejudice, clan wars, and eventually decimation of a respected culture.

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