Nature And Civilization In Vega´S The Story Of Pedro Serrano And Saer´S The Witness

1420 words - 6 pages

During the era of maritime exploration and the discovery of the Americas, assumptions were made of the land likening it to not only a paradise, but one that was overrun with cannibalistic natives. These suppositions led to a desire to explore the lands and conquer the savages that posed a threat to man and civilization itself. The consequences of this mass colonization and dehumanization of the natives paved the way for literary pieces that pose as critiques of the era when viewed through a post-colonial lens. When looked at through a post-colonial perspective, a few common themes prevail amongst compared texts. Focusing on the theme of the journey, what it means, and what is at stake, Garcilaso de la Vega’s “The Story of Pedro Serrano” and Juan José Saer’s The Witness both touch on all these themes with great severity, dissecting the purpose of the journey and what it means to be a civilized man.
Vega wrote of Pedro Serrano, a man who was shipwrecked upon a small desert island for nearly a decade. A majority of the story focuses on Serrano conquering and taming the island to fit his own needs. For example, he uses turtle shells to not only catch water for his consumption, but also to build a small hut to perpetuate the life of his fire that nature threatened to extinguish. However, despite his efforts, nature eventually wins over Serrano, disrobing him and leaving him almost animal like in the view of civilized men. While this story does not focus too heavily on the journey of Serrano, it does offer an in dept perspective of what is at stake when man is put up against nature. Serrano desperately tries to recreate civilization on the island in an attempt to cling to civilization. After all, it was religion (a manmade institution) that saves him after the first three years of his stay, awarding him a companion for the final four years after which they both are again saved by religion, reciting the Credo as they were nearly mistaken for heathens. This idea is further emphasized by the lines from Serrano and his companion’s first encounter:
“Serrano thought it was the Devil come in human form to tempt him to some desperate act. His guest thought Serrano was the Devil in his true form, he was so coated in hair, beard, and hide.”

Serrano, who was at that point taken over by the island—by nature, was regarded to be the Devil in his true form, implying that man himself without the guise of civilization, without religion, (namely Christianity) is by no means good. As for “the guest”, he is referred to as the Devil disguised, emphasizing the point that man in his true form—devoid of civilization and all the amenities that come with it—is evil and must look to European sensibilities to regain their civility. So, at the end of the story, Serrano was able to cling to his civilized ideals but does nothing to rid himself of the look that nature bestowed upon him.
Saer’s protagonist goes through the entirety of The Witness without being given a name—an...

Find Another Essay On Nature and Civilization in Vega´s The Story of Pedro Serrano and Saer´s The Witness

Prejudice and Discrimination in ZZ Packer´s Story: Brownies

843 words - 3 pages In 2003, African American author, ZZ Packer wrote, “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” which illustrates a series of short stories and “Brownies” is one of those highly praised reads. Throughout the story, the aspect of prejudice and racism remain evident. The author illustrates the story about racism and humanity through Laurel’s eyes, who is just a fourth grader. The story takes place near the southern suburbs of Atlanta Georgia, at Camp Crescendo....

"European Civilization : Created by the masses" --19th Century ideologies,1920's -1930's dictatorships,aftermath of the World Wars

2077 words - 8 pages -Over view- This 12 page paper reviews 19th century ideologies (political and economical). Reviews France and Britian during the French and Industrial Revolution periods. Talks about WW1 and the crisis it presented, also the breakdown in European Order thru invoked treaties. It goes over 1920's-1930's dictatorships leading to WW2. Then a summary of Capitalism,Communism,and Socialism trying to mesh. This Paper also references afew facts from my...

The Irony of Dave Egger´s Story: Accident

643 words - 3 pages Commonly, vehicular collisions are considered a negative occurrence. Dave Eggers hints towards this mindset in his short story Accident. Plotted in the middle of an intersection in 2005, the story commences with the main character driving his automobile through the intersection and striking an older Camaro. The three teenagers in the Camaro are fine, but the main character notices all the damage he has done to their vehicle and he fears an...

Imaginative Recreation: Short story set in 1960's America where the main character is "disturbed" and recommended institutionalisation

1156 words - 5 pages I stared straight ahead, trying to tune out the droning voice of my teacher. I checked my watch again, for the second time in less than two minutes and promised myself I wouldn't look at it until the end of the period, but within minutes my eyes were creeping back. I wasn't sure what I was waiting for anyway. To go home? Definitely not. Having to listen to my parents ceaselessly compare me to my perfect brother was probably the last place I...

Thoreau´s View on Nature and Human Necessities

1495 words - 6 pages Discuss what Thoreau considered to be important in life? Nature and the benefits of a simplified lifestyle were important to Thoreau. Thoreau makes the statement how “brute creation requires more than Food and Shelter. Even in a certain climate, Thoreau felt that a man’s necessities are Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Fuel. He states how cats and dogs require the same second nature. Liebig says, “ man’s body is a stove, and food is the fuel...

Examine responses of the main character(s) to evil and/or evil impulses: O'Connor's "A Good man is Hard to find", and "The Cask of Amontillado". What accounts for the responses to evil in each story?

1269 words - 5 pages EVILThe Grandmother in Flannery O'Connor's "A Goodman is Hard to Find", fears death. She hopes to convince the Misfit to spare her by begging and telling him that he is a good man and should find Jesus. While the Misfit, who is a convicted murderer, seems to regret murdering the grandmother. In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado", Fortunato the fool also fears his impending death at the hand of the evil Montresor who had borne "The...

Hot Time in Old Town Tonight- The Story of the Great Chicago Fire during the 1800's

1951 words - 8 pages Hot Time in Old Town TonightA blanket of darkness surrounded the city after a day filled with people routinely bustling around. This slumbering city was rudely awakened when someone shouted "Fire!" Sheer mania enveloped this town as it struggled, to no avail, to extinguish a fire that raged with the vengeance of a roaring lion. Little did the people know what the inferno would do. This great fire can best be illustrated by describing the short...

A book report, comparing the immigration in the 1900's to the story line of My Antonia and sociological events at the time which made the book a classic

760 words - 3 pages In the early 1900s Northern & Eastern European immigration flourished into the United States. The world was changing as technology and new methods of transportation started to take off. As stated in the Bohemian Paradox, "poor social conditions along with political persecution by the Empire and subsequent anti-socialist legislation as prime motives to emigrate" . Thousands upon thousands of the working class Europeans sought to leave the...

"Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature," in the July issue of Psychology Today Alan S. Miller

961 words - 4 pages In his article, "Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature," in the July issue of Psychology Today Alan S. Miller lacks evidence for the claims he makes. This article is an interesting read but hardly sound, if we pay attention to the facts. He is missing the key points when he claims that life is all about the interaction of experience, behavior, and environment. Miller forgets to include one's spirit, intuition, and love. Miller omits...

Telling America 's Story

871 words - 3 pages Telling America 's Story The three essays of rhetorical criticism, Telling America 's Story: Narrative Form and the Regan Presidency by William F. Lewis, The "Promiscuous Audience" Controversy and the Emergence of the Early Woman 's Rights Movement by Susan Zaeske, and Medicine, Rhetoric, and Euthanasia: A Case Study in the Workings of a Postmodern Discourse by Michael J. Hyde each employ a variety of strategies to examine the rhetoric...

Analyzing Shakespeare´s Account of Human Nature in King Lear in Comparison With Other Authors

1697 words - 7 pages Human nature is a concept that has interested scholars throughout history. Many have debated over what human nature is – that is, the distinguishing characteristics that are unique to humans by nature – while others have mulled over the fact that the answer to the question “what is human nature?” may be unattainable or simply not worth pursuing. Shakespeare explores the issue of human nature in his tragedy King Lear. In his play, he attempts to...

Similar Essays

Bederman´S Book Manliness And Civilization And The Ideas Of B. Wells

1247 words - 5 pages In Gail Bederman’s book, Manliness & Civilization, she dedicates a whole chapter to the ideas and views of Idea B. Wells. She also writes extensively about G. Stanley Hall, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Theodore Roosevelt. Each of these people takes on a different view of manliness in “civilized” societies. Hall looks at the ideas of letting little boys be little savage; Gilman explores the ideas of white men needing white women; and Roosevelt...

Nature And Conversion Imagery In T. S. Eliot's "Journey Of The Magi": A Review Of Criticism In Books

879 words - 4 pages Criticism of T. S. Eliot's "Journey of the Magi" suggests that the images of nature and conversion are representative of the ambiguity of the world. The images of nature are at times beautiful--as in the "fertile valleys" and "running streams"--but are also ominous and dark in other portions of the poem. Images of conversion are also both positive and negative, as they are intended to convey a sense of hope and uncertainty--just as conversion had...

Comparison Of Jack London´S The Story Of An Eyewitness And Jon Lee Anderson´S Leaving Desire

1159 words - 5 pages vs. Compare and Contrast MS10215 Hyunjoo Cho Harvard (University), #1 (Number), Red There are some similarities and differences between 「The Story of an Eyewitness」 written by Jack London and 「Leaving Desire」 by Jon Lee Anderson. These elements lead to the same topic, the sorrow floating with extreme damage of natural disaster causing to the residents. However, the main method approaching to the topic is entirely opposite. Jack London wrote...

The Elusiveness Of War And The Tenuousness Of Morality In Tim O?Brien?S ?The Things They Carried,? ?How To Tell A True War Story,? And ?Style?

636 words - 3 pages The Elusiveness of War and the Tenuousness of Morality in Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” “How to Tell a True War Story,” and “Style”      In the novel The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien demonstrates how exposure to the atrocities of nations at war leads to the soldiers having skewed perspectives on what is right and wrong, predominantly at times when the purpose of the war itself appears elusive. The...