- Both authors have brief biographical sketches in the anthology. Which insights about their lives do you find especially helpful in understanding their perspectives and what their purposes might have been for writing these texts?
- Which description of the colonial period do you think is best supported by Columbus’s and Harriot’s texts: a period of discovery, of contact, or of conquest?
- What influences of the creation story in Genesis do you see on Columbus’s and Harriot’s interpretation of what they see in the New World? What tensions exist between their understanding of what they observe and the interpretation that a Native American might offer (based on what we know from the origin stories we have discussed)?
- Columbus’s manuscript might be categorized as a journal of discovery, rather than an origin story or sacred text. What stylistic differences do you notice between his text and the origin stories? What kind of literary conventions do you think Columbus is trying to follow in this journal that are different from other genres?
- What mythical (symbolic or interpretive) elements do you see in Columbus’s and Harriot’s narratives? What historical elements do these texts have? Which examples illustrate the differences between myth and history most clearly?
- To make Columbus’s journal real to us now, consider the following as you read: substitute “oil” for “gold,” “insurgent” for “savage,” and “freedom” (or “democracy”) for “salvation.” In what ways does Columbus’s narrative compare to our own time?
How accurate is the following animated film in representing Columbus’ travels and legacy, compared to what you see in the text of Columbus’ journal?