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Trustworthy Puritan


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Bennett Donahue Mr. McElrath English III Honors 05 September 2014 A Trustworthy Puritan Although De Vaca, Equiano, and Smith were all brave and courageous men, William Bradford, the puritan for the historical narrative “Of Plymouth Plantation,” reveals himself to be most reliable and trustworthy. Bradford demonstrates that he is a strong believer in God, and a selfless leader among men by using emotional diction, biblical allusions, and his religiously based figurative language in order to show his tremendous leadership and his unbreakable loyalty to God and his men. Right off the bat, there is Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. Yes, long name, but with that long

name comes a long, perilous voyage that gambled his life at numerous occasions. De Vaca’s ship would have been the last place on earth that you would have wanted to be. De Vaca portrays himself as the leader of the ship, which he very well was, but he talks in a selfish way as if he was the strongest member on the ship. He writes, “When night fell, only the navigator and I remained able to tend to the barge,” he seems to recall moments only when he was the strong one to survive, or how he was able to brave through the hardships that he met(De Vaca 74). Now, De Vaca was a religious man. He praised god and mentioned that the reason why his barge was still afloat was due to the grace of god. Although he does mention god, he doesn't write like William Bradford, for example he refrains from saying that the journey was for the glory of god. If the journey was not for the glory of god then it is only for the glory of himself. This trait makes him a less reliable leader due to the fact that he is motivated by selfish ways.


The next man to compare to William Bradford is Equaino, who was a young black slave on the dreadful voyage of the middle passage. He writes about the terrible things that the men did to the slaves aboard the ship with vivid imagery. The prominent negative topic written about the most by Equiano was the smell, he describes the smell as, “so intolerably loathsome, that it was dangerous to remain there for any time”(87). He also writes how he is one of the luckier ones, because of his age he is allowed to spend more time above deck away from the putrid smell below deck. Equiano’s story doesn't really compare to William Bradford’s because of the different context that they were written. Equiano was not leaving his home because of choice like Bradford, on the contrary he was forced to leave his home to be a slave to someone in America. Equiano would be the least trustworthy or reliable person out of the four primarily due to the fact that he was not a leader in the least. He is more of a follower, which is unfortunate, but all of his freedom was taken from him the moment that he was captured and put on that ship. Everyone knows Captain John Smith from the famous disney movie Pocahontas, but was he really the kind, trustworthy person that his character was portrayed as in the movie? From the story that Smith writes the answer is no. First of all, he changes the point of view of the story making himself a character which in return makes himself look as if he was a selfless man. He also writes that, “his two men slain”(Smith 98). when he went to go scout out the river ahead. The two men were the only people that went with smith to look up the river, and smith was the only one that returned. This is a reason why Smith is not a trustworthy person because probably killed those two men because he wanted to be in charge of everything. Smith also never prays to god or writes how he is thankful for his men, by doing this it shows that he is loyal and trustworthy to only himself. This makes him a terrible leader because he


lacks the fundamental skills of being a trustworthy person, and everything that he does makes himself look questionable. The last and most reliable explorer is William Bradford. This man truly was a selfless leader, who lead with loyalty and trustworthiness. He displayed his loyalty to god by using biblical diction countless times throughout his story. For example, states that the moment his men got off the ship, “they fell to their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean”(Bradford 104). This action right here separates Bradford from the other three. The very moment that they reach land they do not run to find water or food, they fall to their knees and praise the lord. Bradford not only has the loyalty of god but he also has the loyalty of his men. This is shown when more than half of his men die due to starvation, small pox, and scurvy, not one of them decides to abandon Bradford. He also was able to befriend the native americas with the help of Samoset, who helped translate the languages so the two cultures could finally mix. Bradford was so much of a leader that he was able to arrange a thanksgiving meal with the natives. Bradford described the animals that they had to eat, he wrote of turkey, deer, and waterfowl, and he also says that he had plentiful amounts of food for him and his men. So, to sum it up, William Bradford was the strongest leader due to the fact that he had the loyalty of his men. In conclusion Bradford’s journey was the one to be on. He was the most reliable and trustworthy because of his strength, loyalty, and his tremendous leadership. The voyage that Bradford was on was long and tough, he also lost most of his men, but he did not lose his strength in god.


Works Cited Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nunez. La Relacion. Holt McDougal American Literature. Ed. Janet Allen, et. al. Orlando, FL: Holt McDougal, 2012. 72. Print. Bradford, William. On Plymouth Plantation. Holt McDougal American Literature. Ed. Janet Allen, et. al. Orlando, FL: Holt McDougal, 2012. 102­106. Print. Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Holt McDougal American Literature. Ed. Janet Allen, et. al. Orlando, FL: Holt McDougal, 2012. Print. Smith, John. The General History of Virginia. Holt McDougal American Literature. Ed. Janet Allen, et. al. Orlando, FL: Holt McDougal, 2012. 94­99. Print.

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