August 17, 2008

Founding Fathers love Twilight

Amazingly, I've found evidence that the Founding Fathers read and loved Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. I don't know how it happened, but with magic and immortality involved, I suppose anything's possible.

As you'll recall, the books feature Quileute Indians as werewolves. Here's the scoop (from Savage Indians):Indians have "nothing human except the shape," Washington wrote: "...the gradual extension of our settlements will as certainly cause the savage, as the wolf, to retire; both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape."

Francis Jennings, Empire of Fortune, 62; Richard Drinnon, Facing West, 65, citing a Washington letter of 1783
Indians received not only similar descriptions to those given predatory animals, but much the same treatment as well. George Washington, revered as the father of the country, wrote that Indians "...were wolves and beasts who deserved nothing from the whites but 'total ruin'" (Stannard, p. 241). Thomas Jefferson, acclaimed proponent of freedom and democracy, argued that the United States government was obliged " pursue [Indians] to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach" (quoted in Takaki, 1979, p. 103). Andrew Jackson, founder of the modern Democratic Party and greatest Indian killer of all American Presidents, urged United States troops " root out from their 'dens' and kill Indian women and their 'whelps'" (Stannard, p. 240).

David Rider, "Indians" and Animals: A Comparative Essay
Does anyone need me to go on about the Indian-werewolf connection I described earlier? Or is it now crystal-clear?

For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight.

Below:  Three big Twilight fans. "Indians as human wolves...perfect!" says Washington. "Two claws way up!" says Jefferson. "I love that whelp Jacob so much I could hug him to death!" says Jackson.


dmarks said...

Actually, they are humans who can morph into wolves at will. As wolves, they lose none of their human character (are not human Hulks), are not bestial. The wolves are not monsters, and there is no presence of a "Wolfman": the wolf-selves are merely wolves, but very large, described in positive non-monstrous terms.

They are not described as sub-human, but rather superhuman on a par with the vampires.

Except when one character is very upset and chooses to lose himself in wolfiness at times, but this is when he hides out in the woods rather than raging like a savage beast.

Rob said...

Isn't a creature that looks and acts like a beast "bestial" by definition? "Bestial" means "like a beast." It doesn't necessarily mean "monstrous."

The Founding Fathers didn't compare Indians to monsters. They "merely" compared them to wolves. I'm not sure it matters whether they considered wolves noble or not. They made the comparison regardless of the wolf's qualities.

It's like using lions and tigers and Indians as mascots. Or as images in an alphabet book. You can justify the linkage by claiming these "creatures" are brave and noble. But you're still equating human beings with animals.