Orientalism in Susanna Rowson's "Slaves in Algiers"

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GRIN Verlag, Sep 30, 2007 - 28 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, 10 entries in the bibliography, language: English, comment: Double Spaced, abstract: When Susanna Haswell Rowson wrote her play "Slaves in Algiers" in 1794, many people in America and Europe were fascinated by stories about the Orient. The exotic tales from faraway countries with strange animals, hot deserts, magnificent palaces, and captured sailors attracted many readers. It did not matter if the described events were true or not, as long as they provided an exciting story with Oriental scenery. Writers then created their own picture of the Orient, often with exaggerating fantasy. The interesting aspect of Rowson's play is therefore her view of the Oriental people and their culture in contrast to the American people and their culture. She creates a specific picture of the Arabic culture and its people to show the advantages of the American values. It is also notable how she describes the difference of the sexes and their struggle for liberty in a foreign land. Rowson describes in "Slaves in Algiers," with the help of the characters, her opinions on liberty, emancipation, and white slavery in the Orient. Rowson's description of the Orient and the Arabic culture in the drama is her device to show the superiority of American values and the importance of liberty in every society. The historical context and the definition of Orientalism serve as a basis to understand her opinions.

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