Front page
Archive
Silflay Hraka?


Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar works at a regional newspaper
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

Email
bigwig AT nc.rr.com

Friends of Hraka
InstaPundit
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
ColdFury
Oceanguy
Fragments from Floyd
VodkaPundit
Allah
The Feces Flinging Monkey
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Sperari
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
ErosBlog
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Rantburg
AMCGLTD
WeckUpToThees!
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
Wizbang!
Bogieblog
ObscuroRant
RocketJones
The Greatest Jeneration
Ravenwolf
Ipse Dixit
TarHeelPundit
Blog On the Run
blogatron
Redwood Dragon
Notables
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
IMAO
Zonitics.com
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
HokiePundit
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
dcthornton.blog
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
IsraPundit
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Dustbury.com
tonecluster
Bo Cowgill
mtpolitics.net
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Hoplites
Jimspot
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Testify!
Northwest Notes
pseudorandom
The Blog from the Core
Ain'tNoBadDude
CroMagnon
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
Pdawwg
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Mercurial
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Foolsblog
Sasha Castel
Dodgeblogium
Susskins Central Dispatch
DoggerelPundit
Josh Heit
Attaboy
Aaron's Rantblog
MojoMark
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
Velociblog
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
DaGoddess
Single Southern Guy
Caerdroia
GrahamLester.Com
Jay Solo's Verbosity
TacJammer
Snooze Button Dreams
Horologium
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
Aimless
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Moxie.nu
Eccentricity
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
MonkeyWatch
Geekward Ho
Argghhh!!!
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
Fringe
The Biomes Blog
illinigirl
See What You Share
Truthprobe
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Consternations
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
ambivablog
Soccerdad
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
kschlenker.com
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Wizblog
tweedler
Pajama Pundits
BabyTrollBlog
Cadmusings
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

March 01, 2005

Where Is The Thatch-Roofed Village, The Home Of Acadian Farmers?

Those who do not know history are good for the book business, for they are apt to accept even the most ludicrous claims of the marketing department.

Case in point, America's Forgotten Atrocity, Salon's article on/interview with John Mack Faragher, author of A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland.

Perhaps the American educational system has decayed beyond all recall, but once upon a time the Acadian expulsion was hardly forgotten, as Longfellow's epic treatment of it in his Evangeline was a middle school staple.

Thronged ere long was the church with men. Without, in the churchyard,
Waited the women. They stood by the graves, and hung on the headstones
Garlands of autumn leaves and evergreens fresh from the forest.
Then came the guard from the ships, and marching proudly among them
Entered the sacred portal. With loud and dissonant clangor
Echoed the sound of their brazen drums from ceiling and casement --
Echoed a moment only, and slowly the ponderous portal,
Closed, and in silence the crowd awaited the will of the soldiers.
Then uprose their commander, and spake from the steps of the altar,
Holding aloft in his hands, with its seals, the royal commission.
"You are convened this day," he said, "by his Majesty's orders.
Clement and kind has he been; but how you have answered his kindness,
Let your own hearts reply! To my natural make and my temper
Painful the task is I do, which to you I know must be grievous.
Yet must I bow and obey, and deliver the will of our monarch;
Namely, that all your lands, and dwellings, and cattle of all kinds
Forfeited be to the crown; and that you yourselves from this province
Be transported to other lands. God grant you may dwell there
Ever as faithful subjects, a happy and peaceable people!
Prisoners now I declare you; for such is his Majesty's pleasure!"

Sure, Evangeline is fictionalized verse rather than straight history, but one could hardly read the poem without learning about the events that inspired it. Nor could one view the movie or musical versions of it without gleaning some few facts about the whole "kicked out of their homes by the villainous Redcoats" experience of the Acadians. Plus, there's the whole Evangeline: The Website experience, where one can listen to the poem in its entirety.

During my own experience with Evangeline, in 8th grade, the normally separate lessons of American History and English were joined at the hip for the week or so it took my class to get through the poem. They basically had to be, as Evangeline was not only Longfellow's re-telling of the Acadian expulsion, it was in part his comment on the issue of his day, slavery. Images of white men in wrist-and-ankle chains may not stir much emotion in this day and age, but in 1850 the metaphorical meaning of the image would have been unmistakable, especially given the earlier (1842) publication of Longfellow's Poems on Slavery.

Evangeline and the events that inspired it can hardly be said to have been "forgotten," unless one happened to be unfamiliar with them to begin with--not that this is the fault of John Mack Faragher or his book, which seems perfectly legitimate, if oddly science-fictional for a purported history.

All these are late 20th century concepts, of course, or at least 20th century concepts. So the project for me was to try to use those concepts and see what is revealed about historical actions 200 years ago, when they would not have recognized those concepts. It's not an exercise in classification nor, I hope, an exercise in trying to make moral judgments. Rather, if a historian uses these concepts to look back at this story, does it suggest something more than it would have otherwise?

If it's anyone's fault, it's the person who first hit upon the idea of a "forgotten American atrocity," and perhaps the educational system that spat them forth onto the world without a knowledge of American literature to begin with.

Though admittedly that could be one of any number of educational systems in the U.S. nowadays.

Postscript : Speaking of Longfellow's Poems on Slavery, take a moment for the one below.

The Quadroon Girl

The Slaver in the broad lagoon
Lay moored with idle sail;
He waited for the rising moon,
And for the evening gale.

Under the shore his boat was tied,
And all her listless crew
Watched the grey alligator slide
Into the still bayou.

Odours of orange-flowers, and spice,
Reached them from time to time,
Like airs that breathe from Paradise
Upon a world of crime.

The Planter, under his roof of thatch,
Smoked thoughtfully and slow;
The Slaver's thumb was on the latch,
He seemed in haste to go.

He said "My ship at anchor rides
In yonder broad lagoon;
I only wait the evening tides,
And the rising of the moon."

Before them, with her face upraised,
In timid attitude,
Like one half-curious, half-amazed,
A Quadroon maiden stood.

Her eyes were large, and full of light,
Her arms and neck were bare;
No garment she wore save a kirtle bright,
And her own long raven hair.

And on her lips there played a smile
As holy, meek, and faint,
As lights in some cathedral aisle
The features of a saint.

"The soil is barren, -the farm is old,"
The thoughtful Planter said:
Then looked upon the Slaver's gold,
And then upon the maid.

His heart within him was at strife
With such accursed gains;
For he knew whose passions gave her life,
Whose blood ran in her veins.

But the voice of Nature was too weak;
He took the glittering gold!
Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek,
Her hands as icy cold.

The Slaver led her from the door,
He led her by the hand,
To be his slave and paramour
In a strange and distant land!

Posted by Bigwig at March 1, 2005 03:12 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments

Very interesting! As an immigrant, I have never heard of this before.

btw, great post for the Carnival of Bad History....

Posted by: coturnix at March 2, 2005 02:11 AM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.









Remember personal info?