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New MenManliness in Early America$
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Thomas A. Foster

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814727805

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814727805.001.0001

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Indian and English Dreams

Indian and English Dreams

Colonial Hierarchy and Manly Restraint in Seventeenth-Century New England

Chapter:
(p.31) 2 Indian and English Dreams
Source:
New Men
Author(s):

Ann Marie Plane

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814727805.003.0003

This chapter examines dreams and dream recording in colonial New England. It highlights the ways in which dream interpretation informed and reflected manliness for Anglo-Americans and the Algonquian-speaking Native peoples of southern New England. For Anglo-American men, dreams presented a nightly feast of unrestrained impulses, temptations, and delusions that had to be mastered, contained, and redirected in waking life. This mastery and containment mirrored the sort of containment of social disorder that was required of male patriarchs in early modern Anglo-American society—especially that of nonconformists or “Puritans.” Dreams were mostly dismissed as inconsequential, and therefore it is hard to find records of them. For the Algonquians, the careful attention to dreams was a closely held spiritual value. Dreams were assumed to be significant; both their study and their central role in shamanic rituals required a public and enthusiastic embrace of dreams and dream reporting. The chapter argues that dreaming, visioning, and their associated belief systems became a vehicle for the elevation of one sort of masculine performance at the expense of another—and in that way, dreaming became a part of the process of colonization, whereby the Anglo-American cultural approach was advanced as superior to that of New England's indigenous peoples.

Keywords:   dreams, dream recording, dream interpretation, New England, Anglo-Americans, manliness, masculinity, Native Americans, Algonquians, colonization

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