Christianity in American Indian plays, 1760s-1850s

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dc.contributor.advisor Habich, Robert D., 1951- en_US Staton, Maria S. en_US
dc.coverage.spatial n-us--- en_US 2011-06-03T19:31:31Z 2011-06-03T19:31:31Z 2006 en_US 2006
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 2006 .S73 en_US
dc.description.abstract The main purpose of this study is to prove that the view on the American Indians, as it is presented in the plays, is determined by two dissimilar sets of values: those related to Christianity and those associated with democracy. The Christian ideals of mercy and benevolence are counterbalanced by the democratic values of freedom and patriotism in such a way that secular ideals in many cases supersede the religious ones. To achieve the purpose of the dissertation, I sifted the plays for a list of notions related to Christianity and, using textual evidence, demonstrated that these notions were not confined to particular pieces but systematically appeared in a significant number of plays. This method allowed me to make a claim that the motif of Christianity was one of the leading ones, yet it was systematically set against another major recurrent subject—the values of democracy. I also established the types of clerical characters in the plays and discovered their common characteristic—the ultimate bankruptcy of their ideals. This finding supported the main conclusion of this study: in the plays under discussion, Christianity was presented as no longer the only valid system of beliefs and was strongly contested by the outlook of democracy.I discovered that the motif of Christianity in the American Indian plays reveals itself in three ways: in the superiority of Christian civilization over Indian lifestyle, in the characterization of Indians within the framework of Christian morality, and in the importance of Christian clergy in the plays. None of these three topics, however, gets an unequivocal interpretation. First, the notion of Christian corruption is distinctly manifest. Second, the Indian heroes and heroines demonstrate important civic virtues: desire for freedom and willingness to sacrifice themselves for their land. Third, since the representation of the clerics varies from saintliness to villainy, the only thing they have in common is the impracticability and incredulity of the ideas they preach. More fundamental truths, it is suggested, should be sought outside of Christianity, and the newly found values should be not so much of a "Christian" as of "democratic" quality. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of English
dc.format.extent 169 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Christianity in literature. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Indians in literature. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh American drama -- 18th century -- History and criticism. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh American drama -- 19th century -- History and criticism. en_US
dc.title Christianity in American Indian plays, 1760s-1850s en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3248]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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