Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America - Essay
Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America is a tale of epic proportions worthy of The Odyssey. The only difference being that this tale is true. Written by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America details the events of Cabeza de Vaca’s eight-year trip from Spain to the New World. It becomes quite clear though his journey that Cabeza de Vaca changes into a completely different man than he was when he set out from Spain in the name of the king, and God.
Cabeza de Vaca was originally part of the 600-man Narváez Expedition, and in the end was one of four survivors. The trip was highly disastrous, on the literal first page he tells how local inhabitants “seduced more than 140 of our men to the desert”#.
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There is no way he views them as savages at this point. By now he views them as a distinctive and unique culture. Not inferior, just different. Cabeza de Vaca also must feel guilty for how they have been mistreated by the Spanish. It’s easier to feel justified for killing and enslaving a culture if you believe they are savages, and inferior to your culture. Thankfully Cabeza de Vaca came to realize that the Native Americans were real people with real feelings just as much as the Spanish were. As mentioned above, eventually Cabeza de Vaca freed himself from slavery by becoming a merchant. This allowed him to become accustomed with several different Native American tribes.
The Cabeza de Vaca who left Spain was very different from the Cabeza de Vaca that went back. The Cabeza de Vaca that left from Spain had a sheltered view of the world. What he knew of the New World was only the stereotype that most Spaniards had of the New World. That it was inhabited by savages, who were not fit to be treated like normal people, let alone equals. The Cabeza de Vaca who left the New World had a far better understanding of the world as a whole, and all it’s people. He realized how unjust it was to assume you were superior over another culture just because they were different. The Cabeza de Vaca who left from Spain was more caring, and more sympathetic towards others, and barely recognizable to the Cabeza de Vaca that left