In Catharine Sedgwick’s novel, Hope Leslie, Magawisca is one of the Main female characters and she runs into many hardships in the book. Magawisca is the daughter of well known Indian chief Mononotto but is separated from her father and her tribe when they are all attacked. After Magawisca and her brother’s mother dies the children get sent to work at the home of the Fletchers an English family. Magawisca gets caught in the middle of two cultures when she is raised by an English family but knows of her original culture, Magawisca responds well and helps the reader understand how big the cultural gap is in the 1600s.
Magawisca’s tribe, the Pequots, are attacked by the English and when Magawisca, her brother Oneco and their mother escape they travel to a new city. When Magawisca and Oneco’s mother dies the two kids are sent to Mr. Fletchers home to be Indian servants. After living with the Fletcher family for a while Magawisca’s father, Mononotto, appears at the Fletchers abode. With the feeling that the Fletchers have captured his son and daughter, Mononotto kills all of the Fletchers but one much against Magawisca’s protest. Magawisca begs and pleads against her father’s actions but does no good, she wants to save what is considered her family for a short but meaningful amount of time but doesn’t want to go against her father’s will.
Magawisca is thrown into a very hard situation but handles everything calmly and maturely. She is stuck between two cultures that despise each other but she ends up with her tribe the Pequot’s for a long time. In a time of need Magawisca still helps the one remaining Fletcher child by risking her own limb to protect part of her “family”. Towards the end of the book Magawisca has taken both sides, the English and the Pequot’s and that pays off. When Magawisca is captured by the English the remaining Fletcher child puts his own safety in danger to help save Magawisca. Magawisca never broke down or really chose sides but she is in fact always there for both of her “tribes”.
This book was places in the 1600’s and Magawisca’s predicament really helps the readers understand the cultural gap between The Indians and The English. The hatred between the two cultures is so large that they destroy each other. Magawisca shows the line between the Indian tribes and the English where as she isn’t fully accepted in either culture. For spending time with the English I’m sure some members of the Pequots find her as a trader and for originating and being known as a Pequot she is never truly accepted by the English.
Although Magawisca gets caught in the middle of two cultures when she is raised by an English family, Magawisca responds well and helps the reader understand how big the cultural gap is. Without Magawisca really drawing the line between the two cultures the readers wouldn’t have gotten a full picture of how big the division between the two cultures are. Magawisca is really a main character because of the bond she shares with both cultures.
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Topic: Hope Leslie Paper
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