Oroonoko: Indians/Europeans Essay, Research Paper
Discrepancy Between Europeans and Indians in Oroonoko
Depicted contrary to the Europeans, who hold themselves at an exclusive level, the Indians are one of the inferior native cultures illustrated in Aphra Behn s classic Oroonoko.
Noble and pure, Indians rank in class directly under Europeans primarily because skin color matches closer in hue than Africans. Due to the wildness of the country chosen by the baby colonies in South America, Europeans find it beneficial to caress [Indians] with all the brotherly and friendly Affection in the World (8). Ulterior motives abounding, this enables whites to insure trade for necessary, unique, and wanted items, lessen the probability of an uprising for stealing the valuable land and resources necessary to Indians survival, and gain valuable support against untamed, unknown country and hostile tribes. Considered at the same time both ignorant for wearing few clothes but innocently so like the first Parents [Adam and Eve] before the Fall, Indians simply dress with regard to temperature, work, and comfort (9). On the other hand, Europeans must wear layers of hot and heavy garments of the latest fashion despite ease: it is what makes them civilized. Differing facial characteristics meaning nothing in a deviant color, Europeans can only distinguish individual Indians by objects such as rings hanging from piercings on the nose, lips, and ears; apron designs and patterns; paintings and tattoos on faces, arms, legs, and bodies; hair styles and ornaments. As an aid, whites even go so far as to give Indians certain long Beads, bits of Tin, Brass, or Silver beat thin, and any shining Trincket to adorn and thus differentiate themselves to a greater degree (9). With Courage too Brutal and Savage to be applauded, the war captains are held in high esteem because of the apparent danger they can both withstand and inflict, embellished by faces resembling Hobgoblins and Fiends (50). While the self-mutilation is respected by the Europeans in its awesome display of heart, nerve, and grit, it is also condemned as a feral, inane act which serves to highlight the social position of the Indians as lower than the whites. Despite obvious superiority in the ways of the country and war, Indians continue to be used by and classified under Europeans, who envision themselves as an exceptional breed.
Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko. New York: Norton, 1997.