"La Relacion" by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca p56 Cabeza de Vaca



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“La Relacion” by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca – p56
Cabeza de Vaca

b. 1490


d. 1556


  • Wrote the first European account of adventures in what is now US

  • 1527 - sailed from Spain as a career soldier on expedition to occupy North America

  • 1528 - landed in present day Tampa Bay, Florida

  • Most of the crew of 600 died of accidents, disease.

  • Survivors developed a relationship with the Apalachee tribe, but that soured when they took the tribe’s leader hostage.

  • Spaniards attempted to sail, by raft, back to Cuba, but the 80 who survived encountered a hurricane near present-day Galveston, Texas

  • By spring, only 15 were alive; this dwindled to 4.

  • Cabeza de Vaca wandered for 8 years over 2,500 miles, mostly on foot.


Summary:

After four days at sea, Cabeza de Vaca’s ship is caught in a storm. Many of his men are either unconscious or dead. After the ship runs aground on an island, the men encounter Native Americans and are afraid they will be sacrificed. However, the Native Americans are sympathetic and bring them food. The Spaniards once again set sail, only to be shipwrecked a second time. The Native Americans weep for the misfortunes of the sailors, take them to their lodges to be warm and hold a great celebration.




  • Point of view refers to the perspective from which a story is told. It does not refer to the feelings, opinions, or biases of the author. When an author writes in the first person, he or she adopts the voice of the main character. In fiction the main character is not usually the author. A woman author, for example, could write a novel from the point of view of a little boy or a woman who lived in a different era.




  • In “La Relacion,” Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca writes in the first person about his own experiences. In this selection, the first person voice is that of the author himself.

  • Point of View: First person narrative



Biassyn. prejudice - a strong inclination of the mind or a preconceived opinion about something or someone. A bias may be favorable or unfavorable: bias in favor of or against an idea.


de Vaca relates how cold, hungry and needy the explorers were. Could be considered as exaggerated in order to achieve his purpose.


  • De Vaca describes the emotional response of the natives and declares them to be “untutored” and “crude”. Although this could be considered a compassionate response, de Vaca insists that it “adds” to the suffering of the crew.




  • De Vaca refers to his own men as Christians to distinguish them from the “pagan” native people, who he believes have no morals. He learns, though, that many Native Americans can be hospitable and compassionate.




  • Sailor Lope finds land trampled by livestock and therefore assumes that the people who live there must be Christian. The assumption is that people who would be intelligent enough to raise livestock would know and understand Christianity.




  • Although de Vaca cites no reason to believe that he and his men will be sacrificed, he insists that sacrifice is a possibility even after all of the attempts of the natives to preserve the sailors’ lives.


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