Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Summary & Response of Readings (DRAFT 3)

Annie Hoang
English 1301, Midterm
Dr. Murray
November 30, 2010
Summary & Response of Readings (DRAFT 3)
In 1855, Chief Seattle wrote an ironic letter to President Pierce known as "Letter to President Pierce, 1855". In the letter, he mentions and points out the flaws as well as the inconsiderate actions of President Pierce. However, the considerate Chief did not criticize President Pierce directly. Instead, he criticized himself and his fellow Indians in order to show how ruthless President Pierce's actions were.
In the letter, Chief Seattle referred himself, an Indian man, as "a savage", while referring to President Pierce to simply as a "white man". His intention in criticizing President Pierce was strengthened and supported by a couple of examples of the President's doings. In the opening, Chief Seattle states, "WE KNOW THAT the white man does not understand our ways"; however, after providing an action of President Pierce, he amends his statement into saying "But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand"(Seattle 642). Sarcastically, Chief Seattle stands up for President Pierce's action in which President Pierce "is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs"(642).
In response to President Pierce's action, in the introduction, Chief Seattle clearly insisted that he was a "savage"; therefore he does not understand. However, in the letter, he shows that he does indeed understand and have a great understanding of the matter. He also points out that the white man does not appreciate what they already have and that they take everything for advantage. On the other hand, Chief Seattle expresses that even "air is precious to the red man" (642).
W.C. : 265

In the "Letter to President Pierce, 1855" written by Chief Seattle, the main point of Chief Seattle was to make President Pierce aware of what he was really doing, and how it was affecting the Indians. Chief Seattle showed that President Pierce actions were greedy and heartless. His white men only wanted more and more for themselves. Therefore, they just end up taking what they wanted away from the Indians. In order to make his point out to President Pierce, Chief Seattle made it as if the Indians were in fault, rather than just blaming President Pierce for everything directly. In doing so, Chief Seattle therefore insisted that, "perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and [hence he] does not understand"(Seattle 642).
In doing so, Chief Seattle probably only wrote in that ironic tone so that he would not automatically offend President Pierce, in which would result into a pointless unread letter where the reader never finished reading. The tone of Chief Seattle in the letter is shown to be an understanding one. He is able to show that he understands both sides. Subsequently, Chief Seattle brings in the actions of President Pierce where he is said to be "a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs"(642). Chief Seattle was only trying to be polite because in his upcoming statements, he insisted that President Pierce takes things for granted and does not value what they already have. However, he boldly points out that even "air is precious to the red man" (642).  Indirectly, Chief Seattle expresses his grievances towards the actions of President Pierce taking away the land of the fellow Indians. Chief Seattle overall throughout the letter showed full understanding towards the disputes and his intent was to inform President Pierce what was going on, and what he should take into consideration to help both sides.
           W.C. : 317
Work Cited
Chief Seattle. "Letter to President Pierce, 1855." The Norton Reader. Ed.
            Peterson, Linda H., and John C. Brereton. New York: W.W. Norton,
            2008. 642. Print.

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