John Smith is legend in the American literature history. His work was widely used by the settlers of Virginia colony in order to improve their lives. His fascination is shared by his critics who do not consider recognize his work terming it as disputable and which lacks basis, but despite this rejection of John due immorality or ethics that he advocated for, we can dispute John Smith collections since plays a major role in the American literature.
John was a son of George Smith and the elder son in a family that highly depend on agricultural activities to earn their livelihood. He was born in January in the year 1580; at place know as Willoughby in England. His father was renowned farm and was able to send Smith to school when he was twelve years old, but he did not live up to the dreams of his father because after the death of his father he drop out of school to inherit his land (Matthews 39).
Having a large track of land that his father left him he was ready to pursue adventuring as it is one of his hobbies. Therefore at the sixteen he left home to join the French who were fighting the Spanish and this marked the start of his life as soldier, which would see him change his life from being a farmer. This was followed by another engagement with Dutch in which they were rebelling against the brutal rules of the Spanish. After this engagement in the war he decided to return back to home. While at home he studied “The Art of War”, his passion to engage in war made him pursue these studies as the skills that he acquired made his successful in the battle field and also gained skills in leadership.
In sixteen hundred he travelled to the eastern side of Europe so as to join the soldiers of Austria who were fighting the Turks. On his journey to join the forces of the Austria, Smith explore the Mediterranean region where he even explored Egypt, Italy and France which he had earlier toured in his last warfare. This time his war skills had greatly improved due the extra knowledge he had acquired from reading warfare books back home and he said to have awarded the responsibility of captain hence Captain John Smith. While on this war, luck was on his side as he is believed to conquer the Turks successfully earning the title “English gentleman” but all was not well as he is later captured by the Turks militia. After his capture he is immediately sold as a slave and this made him to be shipped to Constantinople to be a servant, but eventually the woman to who he was to serve treats him in a very kind manner and Smith believed the woman had fallen for his charms. This makes Charatza sends him to his bother to keep him custody. Smith end up killing Charatza brother due mistreatment that he received and this he runs away back to the Roman Empire. At the Roman Empire he is rewarded accordingly for his victory in war, where he was supposed to receive pension annually as brave and brilliant soldier (Matthews 63).
After emerging victorious Smith decide to go back home but in what can be termed his adventurous nature he decide tour countries like France, morocco and German. In these adventure smith also engaged in fighting at the African coast on his returns to his home land England. After his return home he embarks on an ambitious scheme of joining colonizers who had plan to travel to Guiana to colonize but unfortunately smith does not succeed in joining the colonizers this makes to become interested in join a group of men who had plans to travel to the America to permanently establish themselves there as settlers (Lemay 57).
After four months of voyage they successfully arrive at the colony of the Virginia. On their four months journey Smith is regard as rebellious and many of the group member were not comfortable for him to be one of the official in the colony when the sealed responsibility are later revealed. According to the strict instruction they were to rename the colony to Jamestown.
When they had already arrived at the colony Smith make use of his leadership skills and this made the other members of the governing council to put him in charge of supplying food to the other settlers as they embarked on developing the colony into a habitable place which would later became a successful town.
In his search for food which he loved so much as he used this as chance to explore the colony he is captured and condemned to die by some Indians who hailing in a place that was neighboring them, but as his was about to be killed the daughter of the Powhatan leader saves his life and he is set free (Lemay 28). After this he embarks on writing about his adventures where he writes he writes a letter in which he later sends to England on the adventures that he makes in the colony entitled “A True Relation” and a similar story appearing in writing entitled “The General Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles”. Although it was only forty four pages Smith is able to portray a theme of strong work ethic in the letter. In addition to this smith wrote or rather drew what he named as “A map of Virginia” in which he made observation on Indians ways of governance and the culture which they embraced.
Despite the prevailing hardship at the time he plays an important role in establishing the colony through his hard work that cannot be disputed this saw him being elected as leader. While he is a leader he embarks on writings and used literature to pass on message to his fellow settlers that they should not look for gold in the colony and they should in turn embark on involving themselves in the agriculture activities where he cited that the presence of the fertile soil was advantageous for them to plant all sort of crops. He uses his writings to present out the potential industries that could bring wealth to the colonialist so that they can fully establish the colonies. Some of the potential industries that he points in his writing “A description of new England” include shipbuilding, farming, fur trading and fishing. In his writing he outline America as the place where there is a lot of potential trade and continues to issue a delineation of the benefits that can accrue from engaging in such trade that would improve the colony establishment. Unfortunately the colony does not become so much successful due to the presence of rebellious colonists and lack of method and betters ways to be used in storage leading the harvest of the colonist rotting (Burt 115).
Having illustrated how his exploration activities contributed to the literature of America at the time of colonization as it can be portrayed by his works like in “A map of Virginia” where writes much on the culture of the Indians, thereby using literature to critically evaluate the way of life of a community. This is also enhanced where he writes about the culture of Indians. We shall embark in discussing the various characteristics found on his work.
One of the major characteristics is the historical aspects. Smith use historical aspect in his writing “The General Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles”. In this piece of work he use history in literature so as to describe the colony of Virginia and to explain his adventure like the controversial story of Pocahontas, the way he describes the skirmishes during the time, travels all portrays a historical perspective (Matthews 67).
Smith use narration in writing in most his works, this is an important style which today is adopted by many literature writers. This evident where Smith narrates about the Mountains, rivers, his travel to Germany, Spain and Italy this narration makes literature have senses attractive to read. Another notable characteristic that is outlined in smith writing is use of religion in writing in “A map of Virginia” he describes the religion adopted by the Indians. Today in many literature writers concentrate on the culture and religious beliefs of community in their works.
Smith uses his writings so as to enlighten his fellow colonist. This evident from his writings where he brings to their knowledge the opportunities available in the colony of Virginia. This is seen as the greatest contribution to the American literature where writers can enlighten their readers through their writings. This also made the writers of the time to adopt such themes in their writings and until today many writers use literature to enlighten the society.
In conclusion, although many scholars are suspicious the historical value of Smith works cannot be dispute. The contribution of his works led to the growth and development of more colonies due hard work that he did on developing maps, travel routes and has made his work very influential to the American literature until today.