Monday, January 14, 2008

A Different Mirror - Chapter 2

In chapter 2 The “Tempest” in the Wilderness: The Racialization of Savagery of the book A Different Mirror by Ronald Takaki, the start of the origins of cultural and race problems were talked about. The main message Takaki was trying to the audience to understood dealt with the how the term “savage” did not originally mean a person with a different colored complextion but by a person’s actions only. However, with more history came the eventual change of the word “savage”, which it is now commonly associated with racial ties and skin color issues. Takaki starts out this chapter by focusing on the English and their efforts to take over the “savage” people also known as the Irish in the 1600s. The Irish were known as savages by the English simply by their daily actions and level of intelligence. The chapter then followed with a large amount of detail about how the Indians of America were compared by the new English settlers to their well known rivals the Irish. The term savage actually originated from the Irish and not the Native Americans. Throughout the chapter the author kept comparing the actual history of the time to the play by William Shakespeare called the Tempest. The main idea of the play was told as the main idea of the chapter progressed. Not knowing the play before reading this made it somewhat hard to understand completely. I feel that the chapter seemed one-sided. It did not say anything positive at all about the English, which made me wonder what negative things were put upon them, if any, by the Irish originally. Were the English just trying to make everything like their culture and blind-sided by what their religion told them? Or was there a power issue that they had? Overall, I understood and agreed with the message that the author was trying to say, but I did not find the reading griping or something that could hold my attention very well. I believe that the author over-used quotes of people back in 1600s. At times, it almost felt that I was reading a book made back during that time. However, I did like the main idea of the chapter. What I mostly liked about it was the history of the English and the Irish, which is something that I had never heard about before.

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