As we read and analyze Ben Franklin’s “Notes Concerning the Savages”, you will be practicing conducting a SOAPSTone Plus Rhetorical Analysis of the text. We discuss a few keys points today in class regarding Franklin’s credibility as a writer:

  • That the text appears to be unbiased to a modern reader due to the fact that it actually examines the perspective of the Native American in a sympathetic light. In fact, in the spectrum of early American writing on the Native American one has to read Franklin’s text to have an unbiased perspective, though the text itself still demonstrates bias in that Franklin clearly vilifies the settlers.
  • Franklin’s rhetorical appeals are more balanced, making his text more effective than that of William Bradford or Mary Rowlandson. Where Puritan authors relied primarily on Ethos and Pathos to appeal to their audiences (and pathos ineffectively), Franklin uses appeals to all three parts of the rhetorical triangle (Ethos, Pathos and Logos).
  • Franklin’s tone is incredibly civil towards the Native Americans, which is unusual, as again, the Native American perspective was not one that was frequently examined.
  • As a well educated philosopher, statesmen, diplomat, inventor and Founding Father, Franklin appears to be a versatile and trustworthy author.

Watch the video below if you were unable to get all of the notes down in class today:

As you continue your analysis of Franklin’s “Notes…” be sure to pay attention to his use of anecdotes, irony, and diction to achieve his purpose. It you have forgotten how to conduct a SOAPSTone Plus analysis, see the notes from below.

Arch Method

Be sure to review the notes your classmates provided during discussion today over Franklin’s use of irony, and how he established a clear note in “Notes Concerning the Savages”.

Throughout the course we will be examining how the stereotypes of the indigenous people of America have formed and changed over time.

Thus far in class we have examined the representations of Native Americans in William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation, Mary Rowlandson’s A Narrative of the Captivity, and Ben Franklin’s “Notes Concerning the Savages”. As we move forward into the period of Expansionism, a few key stereotypes should become apparent to you (if they haven’t already).

  1. The Native Americans as the wild, uncivilized, untamed Savage.
  2. The Native American ‘Chief’, the wise and stately leader of the Native American people.
  3. The Nobel Savage who is directly in touch with nature and the natural world.
  4. The Indian Princess, a beautiful Native American maiden that usually saves the life of a white man.
  5. The Squaw, a wild Native American woman who seduces white men.
  6. The idea of “The Native American People”, or the “American Indian” as one homogeneous
    us group…there were in fact hundreds of different tribes or nations with distinctly different cultures.

Be sure to consider what stereotypes are being used and for what purpose as a examine the role of Native Americans throughout American Literature.

Additionally, click here to listen to a podcast over the Stereotype of the Indian Princess and the Myth of Pocahontas – its entertaining and will provide a LOT of context for the analysis you will be conducting in class!


The Indian Princess, so in touch with nature that she can make PURE BUTTER!


The Squaw, shamelessly using her body to sell fine cut chewing tobacco.






The Nobel Savage, contemplating his place in nature and the universe.


The Savage, scalping a helpless white settler.

The Savage, scalping a helpless white settler.