how does aphra behn compare the native people of surinam and the english people


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Behn refers to three different types of people who live in Surinam. The narrator is a European, a young white British woman visiting the British colony. She uses the pronouns "we" and "us" to differentiate Europeans from the two other groups of people, generally "them." One group consists of what some today call Native Americans, the natives, people who are indigenous to that region of South America. She insists that both groups tend to live peacefully together and that the natives are as innocent as Adam and Eve before the fall. With these people in mind, Behn considers the philosophical antithesis of nature versus civilization. She tends to idealize the natives and imbue them with a kind of natural nobility. Indeed, she refers to them as living as early man did during the "Golden Age," before the corruptions of civilization. For this reason, Behn's work might be considered a philosophical one, despite its non-philosophical features. Furthermore, the Noble Savage trope might have later influenced the French philosopher Rousseau (1712-1778). Nevertheless, tensions remain between the Europeans and the natives, beyond the simple identification of the former with culture and the latter with nature. These tensions will become clearer as the novel progresses. In this section, it is enough to note that the British are forced, more or less, to be good to these people and not "treat them as slaves," because they "so far surpass" the British in numbers and in ability to supply natural resources.