Mayflower Themes

Nathaniel Philbrick
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Humanity

Philbrick points out several times in Mayflower that the story of the Pilgrims is one that does not fit our notions of what happened. The story is not as simple as the Pilgrims symbolizing all that is good about America or the English unleashing disease and destruction on the Native Americans or savage Indians attacking the innocent English. In fact, none of these scenes tells the whole truth, which is that both the English and the Native Americans were human. They were, at the same time, full of goodness, greed, anger, uncertainty, and a host of other conflicting behaviors.

Both groups, at many points in this history, were concerned with their self-interest. Some of the Native Americans sought to rid New England of the English. Both Squanto and Massasoit manipulated events to their own benefit. The Pilgrims sought religious freedom at the same time that they tried to...

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This section contains 1,007 words
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Buy the Mayflower Study Guide
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