Change To Race In The Pacific Journal Of Adam Ewing

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Through the interlocked stories of six characters, Mitchell changes his portrayal of power and superiority from one based on superficial measures such as race and civility to one based on innate altruism, and in the process, he effectively changes the reader’s perspective on the value of compassion and selflessness. CHANGE TO RACE With the novel opening into The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, an American white man, the reader attributes the first sign of power to race. Set in the 19th century, an era saturated with racism and prejudice, Ewing embodies these notions in his diary, effectively influencing the opinions of the reader through his nuanced biases. The journal tells the story of the power struggle between the European imperialist …show more content…

In his journal, he uses language such as “noble savages” (12), a “mongrel race” (22) and a “blackie” (37) to describe the Moriori, painting them in an inferior light as he cannot even admit their humanity. He characterizes the natives like animals as the Europeans summon “their pet savage(s)” (34) and only observes because “a wise man does not step betwixt the beast and his meat” (7). When Ewing says, “to civilize the Black races by conversion should be our mission, not their extirpation” (16), he embodies the idea of human-animal relationship, a relationship which is never equal. The goal of civilizing the natives is ultimately to convert these black beasts into perfect, societal Caucasians, rather than to kill them. Ewing forgets, however, the adjunct to his claim: if the Black race fails to civilize, extirpation is imperative. Just like dogs, it is the White man’s burden to train the natives, to educate the natives, to show them right from wrong …show more content…

Although civilization is based on subjectivity alone, Sloosha’s Crossin’ An’ Ev’rythin’ After demonstrates the superior notion ascribed to more “civilized” characters. The Kona enter the story as savages with their first action sequence including a violent, gory murder. The first characterization of the Kona creates an everlasting opinion. When the “painted savages” appear, riding in on “horses decked in studded leather armor” while “laughin’” and “yellin’ war cries” (240), they feel barbaric and uncivilized especially as “the chief licks Pa’s Blood off the steel” (241) after killing the father and brother of the protagonist, Zachary. Already, the reader views the Kona as the uncivilized enemy. However, Zachary proceeds to use the same language of savagery when talking about the other tribes of the island. Zachary and the valleymen worship Sonmi as is custom, however, there are many religions on the island adopted by other the other tribes. When he claims, “Savages on Big I norm’ly had more gods’n you could wave a spiker… [and] for Valleysmen, savage gods weren’t worth knowin’, nay, only Sonmi was real” (244), Zachary disregards the validity of the other tribes’ beliefs prompting the reader to disregard them as well and also places them in a category the reader already associates with brutal, barbaric inhumanity. Because of Zachary’s incessant assertion that the heretics and pagans to his

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