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Lesson 2: Journal Assignment

Based on the background information provided within the lesson and the required readings, describe the typical subjects and themes on which the early explorers and settlers focused upon within their writings. Explain why you think these subjects and themes were worthy of writing about above other potential topics.

Lesson 2: Reading Guide Assignment

Choose one of the following selections. Review/reread the selection as necessary to complete the reading guide to demonstrate close reading. Note: a full description of each of the five elements on the reading guide is available by accessing the ENH241 Glossary.

His Report to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella Regarding his First Voyage Christopher Columbus
The Proceedings and Accidents of The English Colony in Virginia Captain John Smith
Of their Voyage, and how they Passed the Sea; and of their Safe Arrival at Cape Cod William Bradford

Title: ______________________________________________________
10 pts

10 pts

10 pts

10 pts

10 pts

Chapter 2
Introduction: Connecting Your Learning
“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” – H. U. Westermayer
In the previous lesson, you read selections from various Native American tribes, primarily oral literature dealing with such subjects as origin and emergence stories, culture hero stories, and historical narratives. This literature opened a door to tribal cultural beliefs and values, including beliefs about the origin of the earth and its people, and retold significant events in the tribe’s history. The Native American literatures reflect the great diversity of tribes in existence in the New World. When Christopher Columbus sailed into the Western Hemisphere one day in October 1492 and discovered what he believed to be Asia, there were over an estimated 100 million Native Americans who spoke over 350 languages living in the lands heretofore unknown to Europeans. These Native Americans contributed greatly then, as they do now, to what is now called American literature. What mental pictures of different tribes and cultures do you have because of these readings? What were their societies like? What was important to them? What did America look like just prior to the arrival of Europeans?
Timelines of Events in the West from PBS.org
Brief Timeline of American Literature with parallel political and social historyConnecting Your Learning
In this lesson, you will read narratives, diaries, and journals written by some of the early European explorers of North America during the 1500s and early 1600s. Three major nationalities — the French in Canada and the northern part of the United States, as well as in the Mississippi River basin; the Spanish in Florida and the southeastern parts of the U.S., in the American southwest, and in Mexico and South America; and the English on the Atlantic coast — began moving into the new frontier. For more detailed information about those early periods of exploration, see 1492: An Ongoing Voyage.
The English did not figure strongly in the exploration of the New World until the 1600s when they began to explore and settle on the Atlantic coast. When European explorers encountered the Native American peoples, profound changes in land holdings, customs, physical health, religion, and literature resulted.
European explorers came to the western hemisphere for several major reasons. Initially, most were seeking a passage to Asia and the Far East in order to develop trade. Once the explorers realized that land previously unknown had been discovered, they were interested in exploring it in order to conquer and claim the land, its wealth, and rich resources. Third, many early explorers came to convert the natives to Christianity. Reading assignments in this lesson reflect a variety of reasons for European explorers coming to this new land. To view maps of the territories they explored, visit the Web sites listed below.
Map: Exploration and Settlement Before 1675
Map: Early Indian Tribes and Culture Areas
Readings, Resources, and Assignments
Required Readings Remember, you can access and print the entire eBook from the link listed in the syllabus.
Materials you will use throughout this course:
Read the biography information about each author by clicking on the link associated with his/her name. Then, find the titles listed under that person’s name in the electronic textbook and read them.
Christopher Columbus: Biography in Context
“His Report to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella Regarding his First Voyage”
Captain John Smith: Biography in Context
“The Proceedings and Accidents of The English Colony in Virginia”
• Part 1
• Part 2
• Part 3
William Bradford: Biography in Context
“Of their Voyage, and how they Passed the Sea; and of their Safe Arrival at Cape Cod”
“Anno Domini 1620: The Mayflower Compact”
“Anno Domini 1620: The Starving Time”
“Anno Domini 1620: Indian Relations”
Richard Frethorne
“A Letter from an Indentured Servant in Virginia” Required Assignments 1. Lesson 2 Journal Response
2. Lesson 2 Reading Guide
Focusing Your Learning
In the early 1600s, the English attempted to establish agricultural colonies on the Atlantic seaboard. One of the earliest successful attempts was Jamestown, Virginia, settled in 1608. However, by the end of the first year, approximately two-thirds of the Jamestown settlers had died. When you read the letter from Richard Frethorne, you hear the account of one of these settlers detailing the hardships they underwent. In 1620, the first group of Puritan settlers, the Pilgrims, mistakenly landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, at the beginning of winter. (They were headed for Virginia.) Like the Jamestown colonists, they suffered terribly that first year, losing approximately 50% of the original settlers.
The second group of Puritan settlers, the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, arrived at the end of the 1620s and experienced hardships in surviving in the New World similar to those of the earlier colonists at Jamestown and Plymouth. A much higher percentage survived because the Native Americans taught them to adapt and helped to support them by sharing food and household goods.
Reading assignments in this section by Frethorne, Smith, and Bradford focus on the experiences of these early settlers. Many such writings were designed to promote America and persuade others to settle here. As you read the writings of the American colonists, you’ll see a typical theme — America, the land of promise and plenty — developed almost from the moment of settlement.
Lesson Objectives
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
1. Describe typical subjects and themes found in diaries and journals of early explorers and settlers.
2. Explain non-literary events affecting literature of this time.
3. Discuss various influences on American literature.
Preview the required assignments that you will submit at the end of the lesson by scrolling down to the “Assessing Your Learning” section near the end of the lesson.
Key Terms
• Accommodation
• Acculturation
• Assimilation
• Diaries
• Journals
• Puritans
• Reformation
• SeparatistUse this activity to review important terms found in the lesson.
Approaching the Objectives
The writings of the early explorers and settlers provide you a window through which to see the newly discovered lands in the western hemisphere and on the experiences of those who explored and settled there. The writings also establish themes and character types that appear throughout and are developed in later American literature.
The belief that America was a promised land, “an earthly paradise,” probably began with Columbus’ journals of his voyages. Columbus believed that he had found the original Garden of Eden, and later explorers and writers continued this theme by writing about the beautiful American landscape, strange and new to European eyes.
Along with describing the new land as an earthly paradise, the early narratives also promoted the availability of land and the opportunity it offered for improvement, both socially and financially. These works first plant an enduring theme in American literature: the selling of property developments and the American Dream. Through this early literature, America is depicted as an open society where anyone of any social status, with or without formal education, and with or without financial resources, can prosper by means of hard work. This conception of America as the land of opportunity remains a major theme in American literature.
Stories of survival and captivity are another theme in early American literature. The explorers and early settlers came to lands where they thought no other Europeans had come before — lands populated by Native Americans with different cultures, attitudes, religions, and ways of life; lands filled with unfamiliar plants and animals. Ships took anywhere from three to six months to cross the Atlantic Ocean. You will find discussions of their harsh experiences woven into the diaries and journals of this period.
Soon, writings focused entirely on surviving in the wilderness or capture by natives. From these writings emerged a new type of American hero — the rugged individualist. This character is self-sufficient and knowledgeable about nature and the world. Often, this frontiersman is also a loner and knowledgeable about Native Americans. Echoing in these survival stories is a much older theme of finding oneself through a difficult journey or pilgrimage, usually in the wilderness.
These early writings represent Europeans who experience a very unfamiliar land and its peoples from within a European cultural mindset. As a result, European viewpoints overlay their descriptions of what they found and demonstrate a concept called ethnocentricity — the belief that one’s own culture is superior to all others.
The writings of these early explorers and settlers treat subjects and themes that over the years have become major components of American literature. America, the land of opportunity with streets paved of gold, is an enduring theme. Of course, you can still read about and watch tales of survival and the adventures of the rugged individualist. Scan the best-seller booklists, the nightly offerings on TV, or the newest films and note how many of them revolve around a lone hero who battles the odds and wins. As you read the assignments for this lesson, notice the origins of these ideas.
Extending Your Learning: Columbus — Myth vs. Reality
“America’s national memory is filled with icons and symbols, avatars of deeply held, yet imperfectly understood, beliefs. The role of history in the iconography of the United States is pervasive, yet the facts behind the fiction are somehow lost in an amorphous haze of patriotism and perceived national identity. . .”Read the rest of the article and form your own opinion.
Assessing Your Learning
Read selections from early American explorers and settlers and complete a reaction journal in which you describe typical subjects and themes found throughout the readings.
Submit a completed reading guide to show non-literary events that affect the literature, as well as prepare for a future writing assignment in which a completed reading guide serves as part of the prewriting process.
If you have questions about the readings or other general questions, please email your instructor. You might find it helpful to email your instructor questions about the readings before you write the Reaction Journal or complete the Reading Guide assignment.

1. Christopher Columbus: Biography in Context
2. His Report to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella Regarding his First Voyage by Christopher Columbus
3. Captain John Smith: Biography in Context
4. The Proceedings and Accidents of The English Colony in Virginia by Captain John Smith

o Part 1
o Part 2
o Part 3
5. A Letter from an Indentured Servant in Virginia by Richard Frethorne
6. William Bradford: Biography in Context
7. Of their Voyage, and how they Passed the Sea; and of their Safe Arrival at Cape Cod by William Bradford
8. Anno Domini 1620: The Mayflower Compact by William Bradford
9. Anno Domini 1620: The Starving Time by William Bradford
10. Anno Domini 1620: Indian Relations by William Bradford

Lesson 2 Assignments
Click on the link for assignment details.
1. Assignment details for the Lesson 2 Journal Response (25 points)
2. Assignment details for the Lesson 2 Reading Guide (50 points)
Access your questions. Then, submit your Journal and Reading Responses via the assessment links located in the “How to Submit Assignments” section below. Follow the instructions given.
Remember to name the works you are discussing in your writing. Titles of poems, stories, and parts of books are enclosed in quotation marks, while the titles of books, magazines, and other completed works are either underlined or italicized.

How to Submit Assignments
Lesson 2 Journal Response
Lesson 2 Reading Guide
Summarizing Your Learning
After completing this lesson, you should be able to:
1. Describe typical subjects and themes found in diaries and journals of early explorers and settlers.
2. Explain non-literary events affecting literature of this time.
3. Discuss various sources and peoples that make up American literature.
Complete one or more of the following exercises to summarize the information you’ve learned.
1. Imagine yourself as an early explorer or settler. Describe some typical experiences you’ve had in the new world and explain what it is like. Explain why you are here and what you are doing. Describe how you relate to the Native Americans and to other colonists. Do you notice social class differences? If so, explain them. If you prefer, draw some of the things you’ve seen and experienced.
2. Make a list of all the films, television programs, short stories, and books you’ve seen or read about explorers or early settlers in this country. Pay particular attention to those that feature the rugged individualist — both male and female.
3. Return to the Key Terms section to check your learning by defining each term in a sentence or two.
Have You Met The Objectives For This Lesson?
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