WILLIAM APESS, EULOGY ON KING PHILIP (26 JANUARY 1836):
TEACHING AND LEARNING MATERIALS
A. Apess the historian. Apess makes it clear in the Eulogy that he knows a lot about European American histories of the colonial period. Indeed, he must do so, because his principal purpose in composing the Eulogy is to contest the dominant version of American history contained in those accounts. It has been suggested, however, that displaying his knowledge also has the advantage of enhancing his "ethos," to use a technical term from classical rhetoric that refers to the way the audience's perception of a speaker's character influences how they accept his or her words.
Discuss whether Apess's display of knowledge actually does enhance his ethos for you as his audience. Do you think a person must be familiar with the sources he cites in order to be favorably impressed? Do you think a person must be an American in order to be favorably impressed? Do you think that listeners or readers would react differently to this particular aspect of Apess's ethos depending upon their own ethnic or cultural identifications?
B. Apess the underdog.
Arguably, Apess was doing a very brave thing to get up in front of a largely
C. "Playing Indian." Louisa Jane Park's comments make clear that almost inevitably, Apess's audience would see him primarily as an Indian--not, for example, as a minister of God or as a political activist. Her comments also make clear that for some audience members, the more he fit their stereotype of what an "Indian" should be, the better they would like his presentation. Discuss whether you think Apess plays up his Indian identity in any way in this address, and discuss whether you think he is effective when/if he does so. Are there ethical issues involved--that is, would it be morally reprehensible for him to pretend to be more like the stereotype than he actually is, in order to reach his audience? You might also discuss whether you have had any experiences where you were expected to behave as a member of a particular group--what did you do? How did you feel? Be prepared to discuss and compare your responses.
D. King Philip, hero. Discuss whether you think Apess succeeds in making King Philip into an admirable leader who deserves a larger place in American history. What seem to be the criteria for heroic leadership that he is using? Do you agree with them?
A. Apess the historian, the underdog, the "pretend" Indian, the hero-maker. Write a reflective paper in which you argue for your own views about Apess and his rhetoric in relation to any of the questions discussed in the "Classroom Activities" section. When possible, compare and contrast with your own experience.
B. What is a eulogy? Write a paper in which you define the rhetorical genre of the eulogy. What are its typical components? What makes a good eulogy? You may illustrate your paper with examples of other eulogies you know about, either from your personal experience or from the historical record of famous eulogies (e.g., Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" can be considered to be a eulogy).
C. Evaluation of Apess's Eulogy. Analyze Apess's Eulogy as a eulogy: in what ways is it typical, or not typical, of the genre? Should it be considered to be a good example of a eulogy?
D. "Eulogy on ------." Identify a person whom you believe deserves recognition for outstanding good qualities, and write a eulogy honoring him or her. Options: choose a historical personage who has been slighted, quote some of the works that do not do him or her justice, and refute them as Apess does with the sources on King Philip. Or, choose someone you know personally, a family member, teacher, community leader, etc., and explain why you think this person deserves honor (for purposes of this assignment, you might compose a eulogy for someone who is still alive). Or, you might choose any of these possible subjects, and instead of playing it straight, exaggerate your praise of the person to the point that you make it clear that you believe that in fact, he or she deserves opprobrium, not honor.
E. Indian Historical
Contexts for the Eulogy. Learning
more about the complex Indian historical contexts of Apess's work could become
a class research project. Teams of several students could research and report
on each of the following topics that provide more information about American
Indian-European American relations from the time of the first extensive
settlements of English people in
American Indian religion in
· the Pequot War
· King Philip's War
· the French and Indian War
· the Reverend John Eliot and the "Praying Indian" towns
Benjamin Franklin's "Remarks Concerning the
the Cherokee battle to retain their lands in
· Other essays and stories about Indians by Lydia Maria Child
· James Fenimore Cooper's The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish
F. An American literature course. An entire course could be created in which the class reads the literary works listed above, along with the Eulogy and other early nineteenth-century works, perhaps on Indians or perhaps on slavery and relations among European Americans, African Americans, and other peoples of color (such as Herman Melville's Benito Cereno). In that case, the class research-and-report project would be limited to the historical topics listed above, perhaps supplemented by reports on the authors listed, but not their works (which would be read and studied by all).
G. Boston, 1830. How many people lived there, and what were their ethnic and cultural backgrounds? What was the actual physical lay-out of the city? What were the major industries and trades? How did people obtain--and what people obtained--education, from the elementary to the college level? What religious faiths and denominations were present? Who were the leaders of the abolition movement in the area? What other social movements were important? What were the functions of oratory as public entertainment, and who were some of the other speakers heard at that time? Teams of students could take each of these questions--and others that may suggest themselves--and collectively prepare a portrait of the civic arena in which Apess acted; then, assemble the information into a website.
Bradford, William. History of
Church, Benjamin, "As Told To His Son
Thomas Church." Entertaining
Passages Relating to Philip's War. 1716; reprinted in So Dreadfull a Judgment: Puritan Responses to King Philip's War,
1676-1677. Richard Slotkin and James Folsom, editors.
Easton, John. "A Relation of the Indian
War." 1675; reprinted in Narratives
of the Indian Wars, 1675-1699. Charles H. Lincoln, editor. 1913; reprinted
Gardiner, Lion. "Leift. Lion Gardener His
Relation of the Pequot Warres." C. 1660; reprinted in History of the Pequot War. Charles Orr, editor. 1897; reprinted
Gookin, Daniel. An Historical Account of the Doings and Sufferings of the Christian
· Mather, Increase. A Brief History of the War with the Indians in New-England. 1676; reprinted in So Dreadfull a Judgment (see Church entry above).
Rowlandson, Mary. The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, Together with the Faithfulness of
His Promises Displayed; Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of
Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. 1682; reprinted in Puritans Among the Indians: Accounts of Captivity and Redemption,
1676-1724. Alden Vaughan and Edward W. Clark, eds.
I. American Methodism:
Apess became a Christian in what was then the fastest-growing denomination in
J. American Indians Were
Here. Wherever Apess's Eulogy is
being studied in the
A. American Indians
Are Here. Students, wherever you live in the
B. What makes a tribe
a tribe? Students, find out about the legal criteria by which the
C. Indian Sovereignty. Find out about the legal rights of recognized Indian tribes. To what extent or in what ways are they considered to be sovereign nations? What are the legal ramifications of their status? Some topics to explore might be the sale of alcohol, tobacco and firearms on Indian land, Indian gaming (pro's and con's for both the tribe and the customers).
D. Museums as Civic Discourse. What is a museum? It might be defined as an institution for the preservation and display of valuable things, so that people can learn about them and perhaps enjoy them. One example is an art museum: works of art that are considered to be excellent are preserved; people can see them, learn about them, enjoy them. Another example is a museum at a famous battlefield: it preserves artifacts of the battle and other sources of information about the battle, so that people can, if not exactly enjoy learning about an event that entailed much loss of life, at least gain some satisfaction from becoming better informed.
By the time that a museum is created, crucial decisions have been made about the criteria for constituting what is valuable. In other words, such criteria must attend to such as issues as what works of art belong in a museum? What battlefields deserve commemoration? By making these decisions, and enacting them in the form of public institutions, a society is making a statement about what is important to it. Certain common values are affirmed by the creation of a museum: in that sense, a museum can be considered a form of public discourse.
Not uncommonly, some of these decisions can be controversial. For example, some may wish to commemorate the struggles of the Southern states during the Civil War with a museum of the Confederacy, and others may condemn such a plan because honoring the Confederacy will seem to them like putting a positive value on slavery and racism.
Given this context, consider the
D. Museum Visitation. Visit a museum near you and respond to the same kinds of questions about it: what are its purposes? How effective is it in accomplishing these purposes? What sort of message does it send about the society that created it? What are its contributions to the civic discourse of your region?
E. "The Judgment
of History." Eventually, people come to realize that a leader has been
so important to their country that he or she deserves great public honor. Thus,
for example, we have the Lincoln Memorial and the