Compare And Contrast The Diffe Essay, Research Paper
In my essay I compare and contrast the different ideas of de Vaca and Handsome Lake about Christianity. Both of them used Christianity in their writings as an element, however they had different viewpoints on it. De Vaca used it to treat people in a bad way like he sees them as miserable people, but Handsome Lake used it to treat people (Indians) in a better way. And I will try to prove these things in my essay.
De Vaca behaved toward Indians very badly. When we read his text about Relation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca we can clearly understand his bad pattern of behavior and also we understand that he was always in war with Indians. The Christians destroyed the Indians land and burned their houses. He thought that this war was necessary.
Through the mercy of God, the wind did not blow from the north in all this time, otherwise I should have died.
He believes in Christianity and he has strong religious beliefs. First of all he believes in God and he is thankful to Christianity and the protection of people by God in every conditions. He unfortunately thought that only with Christianity that things would reach in its best. In the book we can easily see that he saved all tribe from death. He prevented one tribe s extinction from illness. He said that they could be Christians but he claimed that Indians had a very little heart and bad luck because of their nationality. For example if any one chance to fall sick in the desert and cannot keep up with the rest, the Indians leave him to perish, unless it be a son or a brother. I think their bad luck comes from their customs. We can see their bad luck brings them the illness. They have little hearts because they do not know anything about Christian religion. They are credulous people.
Cabeza de Vaca used Christianity in a bad way even Indians told that the real Christians apparently lied and for this reason they thought that they could not possibly be the Christians.
For we appeared out of sunrise, they out of sunset; we cured the sick, while they killed even the healthy; we went naked and barefoot, while they wore clothes, and rode horseback and stuck people with lances; we asked for nothing and gave away all we were given, while they never gave anybody anything and had no other aim than to steal.
De Vaca used Christianity in order to mislead the Indians. He did strange hand gestures in shape of the Christian cross and made believed Indians that he in fact cured them with these gestures and with the sacred help of the Christianity. After he made over them the sign of the cross, and commended them to God, they instantly said that all the pain had left, and went to their houses bringing us prickly pears, with a piece of venison, a thing to us little known.
Soon, Cabeza de Vaca lived with, fought with, traded with, preached to, was a slave for, healed and observed native people. By the end of his journey Cabeza de Vaca lost his conqueror s arrogance and found them as human beings.
Handsome Lake s religious approach to the Indians is quite different when compared de Vaca. In handsome Lake s How America was discovered he argues that white men in fact tried to manipulate Indians in bad and wrong ways despite their honesty, innocence and the importance of being friends. He groups these bad and wrong ways into five evil things; Cards, money, fiddle, whiskey, and blood corruption.
Take these cards, this money, this fiddle, this whiskey and this blood corruption and give them all to the people across the water. The cards will make them gamble away their goods and idle away their time, the money will make them dishonest and covetous, the fiddle will make them dance with women and their lover natures will command them, the whiskey will excite their minds to evil doing and turn their minds, and blood corruption will eat their strength and rot their bones.
Indians are the people who live very calmly and in an isolated world of them. They live in tribes, they own land, they hunt and do agriculture in order to survive. They have different believes which are quite strange to outsiders. Handsome Lake as he
Handsome Lake in his story says that they are the white men who put the Indians desperate situation and poisoned them with their evil things that the white men brought from their far land. He also talks about the religion, he stresses out that how bad the religion spread out. According to Handsome Lake s description we can surely believe that the Indians are almost without sin. He addresses all of these to white men and including he accepts that they (the white men) were the people who dragged Indians into their tricky life. He also adds that they should behave more reliable and honest toward Indians.
As a conclusion we can say that both of the authors use Christianity as an element in their writings. Although this is similarity between them there is a striking contrast. This is the different way of the use of the Christianity as an element. De Vaca used Christianity to persuade the Indians that the only light in the darkness is the Christianity. He used it again for making people believe that he cured Indians by these Christian cross like hand gestures and great power of the Christianity. In contrast Handsome Lake argued that white men were the people who persuaded Indians to go along in a dishonest way. He even said that people (white men) should behave more honest and be reliably toward the Indians.