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A Comparison of Christopher Columbus’s Letters Essay Sample

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A Comparison of Christopher Columbus’s Letters Essay Sample

In the book The Norton Anthology-American Literature there are two voyages that are writen about by Christopher Columbus. I will compare the two and explaine some of the contrasts between the two. As they are two very different voyages, 10 years apart, Columbus has emotions and experiences that separate the two. From a free man to a man in bondage. Discovery

In Columbus’s first letter “Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage” (Franklin, Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the Frist Voyage, 2008) Columbus is full of excitement and happiness as he writes about his discoveries of new islands and sights. He discusses how he traveled to each island and the course he took. For example he states “When I reached Juana I followed its coast to the westward, and I found it to be so extensive that I thought that it must be the mainland, the province of Catayo.” Columbus also states in the same letter the wonder of the beauty in which he was discovering “There are six or eight different palms, which are a wonder to behold on account of their beautiful variety”. In his second letter “ Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage” (Franklin, Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fouth Voyage, 2008) he does not speak of any new exciting discovery or new beauty. Excitement / Sorrow

When Columbus starts his first letter “Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage” (Franklin, Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the Frist Voyage, 2008) He begins by stating “As I know that you will be pleased at the great victory with which Our Lord has crowned my voyage” He speaks with a tone of excitement and pride at his discoveries and accomplishments. Columbus also writes of all the new places he named. In the second letter “Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage” (Franklin, Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fouth Voyage, 2008) his tone and diction is very different. He begins by writing “Of Espanol, Paria, and the other lands, I never think without weeping.” The letter starts off very negative and sorrowful and continues with infirmity and despair. He has lost the flair and excitement of the voyage. Freedom / Bondage

When you read these two letters you can see where Columbus was experiencing great freedom and how he ends in great bondage and sorrow. In his first letter “Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage” (Franklin, Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the Frist Voyage, 2008) he states “there are many harbors on the coast of the sea, beyond comparison with others which I know in Christendom, and many rivers, good and large, which is marvelous. Its lands are high, and there are in it very many sierras and very lofty mountains, beyond comparison with the island of Tenerife” Columbus is discovering new worlds and he is very much enjoying this. In this first letter there is complete freedom, he is just doing what he loves sailing and he is discovering new exciting islands without any depressing or low tones. But this is not the case in the second letter “Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage” (Franklin, Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fouth Voyage, 2008) where Columbus discusses his imprisonment, ill treatment, pleading to be released from his chains and his religious faults. “Here in the Indies I have become careless of the prescribed forms of religion. Alone in my trouble, sick, in daily expectation of death, and encompassed about by a million savages, full of cruelty and our foes” “my soul will be forgotten if it here leaves my body. Weep for me, whoever has charity, truth and justice” He has become a man of much sadness.

Conclusion
In conclusion you can see that by these two letters that Columbus wrote he shows a variety of life experiences and that in 10 years he went from a relatively carefree man to a man in bondage and much despair. He had seen beauty, freedom and excitement in its rarest most majestic forms but in the end experienced some of the darkest, sad, lonely times. These are not things that you think of when you think about the great Christopher Columbus but he just like us experienced a life full of joys and disappointments.

References

W.W. Norton & Company. Franklin, Wayne (2008). Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage & Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage. The Norton Anthology American Literature, 25-28

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