Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Life and Adventures of John Rollin Ridge

The paper that I am currently writing analyzes the affinity between John Rollin Ridge and the character in his book The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta. Murieta is presented by Ridge in a way that parallels many of his own beliefs, characteristics, and physical qualities in order to share with the world the injustices that he and his people experienced in a form that would grab the interest and imagination of 19th century readers in North America.

John Rollin Ridge and Joaquin Murieta share many biographical similarities including the experience of tragedies during their lifetime that eventually push them to desire revenge upon those they blame for the injustices responsible for the tragedies. Ridge experienced first hand some of the hardest times for the Cherokee people during his lifetime including the Trail of Tears. His father was murdered for a decision he made to protect his people and as a result, Ridge swore vengeance on those ultimately responsible (the United States Government). Murieta has a similar story and declares vengeance after the unjustified murder of his brother by White Americans. John Rollin Ridge continues throughout the book to paint Joaquin Murieta as a man with strong moral integrity and a heightened sense for natural justice and law, which are character qualities that Ridge himself is believed to have. Ridge also gives a physical description to Joaquin that greatly resembles Ridge’s pictures and written documents that describe his physical attributes.

I believe that John Rollin Ridge wrote The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta to parallel his own political beliefs and to share with the world the injustices served to him and his people during his lifetime. It is possible that Ridge chose to paint himself as a Mexican bandit in California for the romantic qualities that the story held and the greater chances of selling the story to readers in the 19th century. A story of the massacre and mistreatment of a Native American population did not hold such qualities or potential.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you posted on this even though blog posts weren't due this week, Amanda.