The Writing Style : The Canoe And The Saddle

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I struggled a bit throughout this book. The content was, at least on first read, not of great interest to me, despite my interest in the geography of the Northwest. I found the writing style stilted and heavy-handed; the syntax was, it felt, unnecessarily complex. I don’t necessarily feel that this is due to the time at which Winthrop was writing, as I have not run into the same roadblock with his contemporaries. Nonetheless, I respect that this is the earliest written narrative of travel through this region. Many books, and I am confident that The Canoe and the Saddle is one of them, warrant multiple readings. I have added this to my post-graduation reread list. I want to like this book, and while like most of the class, I was a little unnerved by the authors imperialist attitude toward his indigenous guides, I don’t think that preclude me from finding merit in the writings on rereading.
Winthrop’s of the various American Indians who he encountered was discussed ad nauseam during our class period, and I don’t feel that I have anything of particular interest to add here. What I will say, however, is that I think as readers, we have to be careful not to simply excuse everything on the basis of time period. While we certainly do a disservice to both ourselves and writers when we pull them from their eras and hold them to the cultural norms of the present time, in cases such as that of Winthrop, there were many contemporaneous writers who, while perhaps fetishizing indigenous

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