Issue Essays:

Plymouth Adventure - Fact or Fiction?
Elsie Hamel


[1]    At the conclusion of the film Plymouth Adventure, the Pilgrims, physically and mentally, have withstood the rigors of persecution in their homeland, of the long and difficult voyage, and of their first year in the wild, desolate New World.  Ultimately, this paradigm becomes the emblem of the founding of our nation and the beginning of a whole panorama of different versions each time the story is retold--some of them factual and some of them mythical.  The purpose of this essay is to . . .

The Rest of the Story: What Mourt's Relation Tells Us about Relations
between the Pilgrims and the Indians

(run your cursor over the Mourt's Relation title page linked above to find
links to our essays on each Mourt chapter)

Rosanny Bello, Lauren Eisner, Edward J. Gallagher, Timothy Guida, Jaime Miller, Megan Snyder, Daniel Spangler

The "adventure" in Plymouth Adventure refers to the trials and tribulations of our revered Pilgrim forebears on the way to America.  The film-makers made the decision to tell only part of the Pilgrim story.  There are, for instance, no images of first contact with Native Americans, who appear only fleetingly in the deep background, virtually out of focus, in the film's penultimate scene.  The film has no interest in intercultural relations.  To us fifty years later, this is a meaningful omission.  The film portrays America in a self-serving way as -- in Perry Miller's now troublesome term -- a "vacant wilderness" (see the preface to his Errand into the Wilderness, 1956) and renders an important part of our history invisible.  To help fill in the rest of the story, we call your attention to Mourt's Relation (1622), the first record of the first Pilgrim months in America. If you run your cursor over the title page, you will find links to our short essays highlighting Pilgrim interaction with the Native Americans in the various chapters of Mourt's Relation.  And remember when you read the predominantly positive accounts of first contacts that the purpose of Mourt's Relation seems clearly to be justification of the Pilgrim settlement and to promote emigration.