John Rollin Ridge (Cherokee) (1827-1867)
Contributing Editor: James W. Parins
Classroom Issues and Strategies
The question of assimilation of a minority figure into white society should be raised. The historical context needs to be firmly established and the implication of assimilation should be addressed, especially as it relates to the loss of culture. The introduction should be consulted carefully as it will help in this regard.
Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal Issues
The major themes include Ridge's views on progress and how it comes about, the tensions between the dominant society and minorities, and the Romantic aspects of his poetry.
Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions
In his poetry, Ridge follows many of the Romantic conventions common in American and British literature of the period. His prose reflects a vigorous editorial style that spilled over from his journalism into his other prose literary efforts.
Ridge was writing for a white, educated audience. His work is relevant now in terms of the majority-minority relations and is valuable in a historical context.
Comparisons, Contrasts, Connections
Any of the contemporary poets can be fruitfully compared. Contemporary prose writers include Mark Twain, Joaquin Miller, and Bret Hart.
Questions for Reading and Discussion/ Approaches to Writing
Topics include the Romantic elements in his work, the idea of progress in nineteenth-century society, and his attitudes toward the American Indians. The latter subject is interesting because of Ridge's ambiguity toward this topic.
No shorter comprehensive studies exist. Refer to the introduction, as it was written with this in mind.