Of Plymouth Plantation vs The General History of Virginia: Compare & Contrast

Of Plymouth Plantation vs The General History of Virginia: Compare & Contrast
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The General History of Virginia by John Smith and Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford are two pieces of literature that have been compiled with a high level of style and expertise. John Smith’s work is one that sheds light on the kind of life in the Jamestown settlement while William Bradford focuses on the plight of the Puritans. This paper shall attempt to analyze the differences and similarities in the content of the two pieces of literature.

Smith’s The General History of Virginia– major purpose

This work of literature takes the shape of historical narration. Written in the third person, one could easily tell the author’s intention in his work as well as the events that shaped the time of the author’s account. The major purpose of Smith’s work relates to the verity that he wanted to appeal and encourage other English personalities to settle in the New World. The author broadly gives his opinions on the Native Americans and the kind of lifestyle they live. According to Smith, the Native Americans were extremely cruel to the immigrants (96-115). It is this fact that led to his capture and was subsequently forced back to their camp.

 The author recounts how the Native Americans were ready to kill him within such a short time (Smith 162). In his stay with the Native Americans, Smith witnesses the kind of lifestyle they live and the backward technology that they used. The kind of dressing was also wayward. According to Smith, he was surprised at how the Native Americans could be proud of glass and the compass (97). It is this fact that leads to his narration of the experiences in the New World after his relationship with the Native Americans.

It is through the ways that the settlers overcame the hardships that it is worth arguing that the work of Smith mainly purposes to encourage the English persons to go to the New World. The major cause of the pleas of the Jameson settlers results from the fact that the voyage from England took too long (Smith 7-43). The Native Americans refused to sell foodstuffs to them; they were also under persistent attacks from the Native Americans (Smith 103). Smith consistently refers to the natives as uncivilized people who would greatly benefit from the help of immigrants. Probably one would argue that these natives could not kill him as they opted to spare his life as they were in fear of his power and ability (Smith 162).

William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation major purpose

The work of William is a journal that records the events that shaped the first thirty years of the pilgrims and the Plymouth colony (Bradford 432). The writer gives detailed facts that explain the events that were characterized in this period of time. A close analysis of these facts explains that the writer was of the need to let the future generations gain a broad understanding of the life of the pilgrims. These events include both their strengths and weaknesses. 

 With narration of these events, the present-day generation as well the future generations will appreciate the struggles and the triumphs of the Puritans. William also aims at letting people understand the experiences of the Puritans.

The differences and similarities

The work of William and Smith is similar in that they both narrate the experiences of the past that shaped the Puritans and the Native Americans respectively. The works can be indicated to be historical accounts of the past events; thus, would be categorized works that take a historical setting. The content of both works also focuses on the immigrants and the natives. The records of the experiences of the settlers in the New World are well explained in these works. For instance, the work of William explains of the Starving Time when the pilgrims lacked food all through their earliest winter in the New World (Bradford 206). The same applies to the work of Smith who explained how the natives refused to sell them food (Smith 103). Both writers had the conviction that brighter days will be experienced.

 However, the works are dissimilar as the work of William is a journal while that of Smith is a mere narration of events. The works also differ as Smith brings out the fact that the new land is a beautiful land to be in with minimal struggles while William portrays the new world as an evil place full of difficulties.

 Works Cited:

Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2012. Print.

Smith, John. The General Historie of Virginia. Massachusetts: Applewood Books, 2006. Print.