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Comparing two literary pioneers, William Bradford and John Smith

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John Smith and William Bradford are the authors of the first written documents about the current United States of America, current North America. However, is there any more similarities regarding what they told us about at that time new world? Read the following

(Painting depicting Pocahontas saving the life of John Smith as the myth teaches us, this painting is kept in the Library of the United States Congress. However, the stories written by John Smith may not be entirely true)

Pocahontas (1591-1617) and John Smith (1580-1631), Disney movie. 

(Pocahontas, Indian girl who married an English man, John Rolfe, she converted to Christianity, this brought peace to the colonies, and they travelled to England where they met James I, king of England at that time. John Smith was an English adventurer who depicted Pocahontas in his writings although it is not  certain whether his tales are entirely true or not. Pocahontas died coming back from England and John Smith was a strong advocate for exploring the new world. Jamestown (current state of Virginia) was the first settlement in the new world, he was involved in the expedition and was in touch with Indian tribes, he wrote plenty of plays, he was also a soldier and adventurer. He is sometimes considered the first leader of North America as he was the ruler of the Virginia Colony )


Inasmuch as we are confronting with two literary pioneers, John Smith and William Bradford, those two coruscating names epitomize literature history. 

(William Bradford (1590-1657) wrote a diary called "Of Plimoth Plantation" depicting first the travel on the Mayflower, and then the first years (1620-1657) of English settlers who arrived at current United States of America. Thanks to his writings we know how the life was like in current Massachussets. He was chosen governor of Plymouth colony. William Bradford and John Smith are literary pioneers and their pieces of writing help us to understand the difficulties and the first years of colonization. They both knew this Plymouth colony)

Yet, does it imply they are wonderful writers? Are their pieces of writing overlaid with the same attributes with regards to wilderness and civilization? We are to study these two authors to discover all of this. Let´s start with William Bradford.


Seldom do we notice reading the words penned by William Bradford how the inhabitants of the new world were and behave. Indeed, when the new settlers arrive at their destination; there is an utter scarcity as far as food is concerned, it is assured. They had to work to bring substance to their lives.


On the other hand, vivid and detailed descriptions arranged by Captain Smith explained to us everything we ought to know about different tribes in the current United States of America and their ways of living. In fact, we can infer reading his words which are their names “Openchancanough” for instance, or the greatness of their means “bread and venison was brought him that would have served twenty men.” 

William Bradford does not mention them, nor does he explain they are living in abundance, but just the opposite, because his description for the new world is rather grim. 

By contrast, Captain Smith dazzles you, every aspect is intended to impress, albeit both texts are set in the same location regardless .

Whilst there is a constant reference to god throughout the whole of the text penned by William Bradford “God of Heaven” “Apostle” “Scripture” “Pisgah” that may highlight the religious intention, and justify their mission so that change those lands for good, assuring everything is a divine journey. 

The use of the third person in the hands of Captain Smith when referring to himself, gives his tale a passionate recount, which provides us with reasons to believe we should collaborate with anybody or do anything in order to explore, settle and exploit the new lands however people live therein, however can take place. 

We have a more down to earth writer but with spiritual meaning like Bradford, and a more imaginative novelist with earthly greed and richly ambitious.

Civilization to Bradford is what the settlers conquer and what they are going to make in the new world. 

To Smith, all the people who already are living in the new world represent civilization. 

They agree in their defence of their mission and the place wherein it does take place, but scarcely in other thing unless appertaining both to the concept “European settlers” if this can be taken into account.

They are in literature history because of their primal recall of facts happening in an unknown world. There not being covering such historical events, they might not be in literature history at all.  

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