Mary Rowlandson

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In A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, the author depicts a transformation she undergoes during her captivity at the hands of the Indians. While her first inclination in captivity is to end her suffering as quickly as possible by giving up on her life, Rowlandson quickly takes up the role of survivalist, determined to stay alive long enough to be released and returned back to civilization. Along the way, however, Rowlandson compromises on aspects of her life in order to achieve this survival. As a means of surviving the ordeal of a constantly changing environment, Rowlandson adapts her opinions regarding food, the Native Americans, and even the land around her to take on the perspective of a savage, similar to that of her captors, as a means of compensating with her perceived savage environment.

When Rowlandson is first captured, she makes it her objective to survive the ordeal as best as she can, but one of her earliest struggles comes with the subject of food. Rowlandson reflects on the progression of her eating habits and how she went through a fundamental change in her opinion towards the food in order to sustain herself: "But now that was savory to me that one would think was enough to turn the stomach of a brute creature." (153) Here Rowlandson succinctly compares her own tastes to that of a brute creature, the sort of description she would normally reserve for one of the Native Americans. This quote comes on the heels of stories of Rowlandson eating horse liver and different nuts and meats that were completely alien to her tastes. In her desperation, however, Rowlandson begins to consider anything that brings her nourishment and sustenance as "savory," and in her starving and desperate state she separates herself from the presumably civilized reader by labeling them as "one." From Rowlandson's perspective, it is not a given that the food she was forced to eat would be unfit to eat, but that opinion would only stem from...
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