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Captain John Smith

Essay by   •  May 1, 2012  •  Essay  •  539 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,292 Views

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How would you describe the tone of Christopher Columbus' letters? Is it positive or negative? Optimistic or cynical? Support this by providing examples of diction from the text.

I would say the that the tone of Columbus' letters represents excitement and pure confidence. Part of this is manufactured by Columbus himself. He immediately sets out to write letters to officials in Spain to justify and cost of his current expedition and future voyages. He has to create a general mood or feeling of conquest and success because his ability to finance further support for his endeavors hangs in the balance of what he did on this one. Given the fact that the letters are written to high ranking Spanish monarchy officials, it makes sense that he would create a tone of excitement and the sense of wonder about his accomplishment. Many believed him. Columbus' letters and diaries were big selling literary products of the time period precisely because it embodied the wonder of exploration that was so intrinsic to the context in which Columbus lived and wrote. It is here where the tone has to be positive and overtly optimistic, never acknowledging failure of any kind or any possible misgivings. Such a tone is what helped create the narrative for so long about the Age of Exploration, and Columbus, in particular. The letter begins with a massive description of the new land by Columbus along with his impressions of the natives. The reader can tell from the tone of the letter that Columbus is very excited to have succeeded (he believes) and is overjoyed at the new worlds potential to make him prosperous and famous. He begins by describing the land as very beautiful and the natives as very timid and also naive as he accounts numerous occasions when he feels he took advantage of them during trading, although he does not express remorese in the least. However, after the initial descriptions Columbus begins to relate his ideas for the islands' financial potential. He describes places with "uncalculable amounts of gold" and the natives would be none the wiser if they were to begin to mine for it and that they could probably be made into slaves fairly easily. Columbus was writing this letter to a friend to whom he was indebted for being so valuable in convincing the King and Queen to allow his voyage. He is obviously proud of his accomplishment and never shows many signs of humulity, however, he does convey his true intentions for this new land and they are to garner him prestige and wealth with very little concern at the cost. In conclusion, Christopher Columbus will always be remembered as the person who disovered the Americas. To many people Christopher Columbus was a hero, an underdog that despite many obstacles triumphed and acheived his goal of finding new land and disproving the theory that the world was flat. While he may or may not have been the man they teach us about in elementary school he is the first explorer

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