In 1676, Native Americans took Mary Rowlandson captive during King Philip’s War. She was forced to watch the people around her die, was taken away from her home, and spent the next four months of her life in captivity. In her memoir, she recounted the things she experienced while under captivity and her view on the world after being freed. Mary Rowlandson was a Puritan and her belief in her religion was very prevalent in her life. During her captivity, Mary sees that although a lot of things have been taken away from the Native Americans, God is still protecting them and she questions why. She thinks it is because the Puritans have not turned to God for help. God is in turn punishing them with the Native Americans success. She was then given a chance to escape her captivity but when given this chance, she refuses it and turns to God knowing that God will protect her. Eventually she is then released from her captivity and taken home. When describing her view on the world after her captivity, she mentions that she has seen the “extreme vanities of this world” (14). When Mary uses the word “vanity” she does not use it in the sense of pride, but she uses it in the Biblical sense, meaning everything on this earth apart from God has no true significance to it. Mary also says that God showed her the vanity of the world and that they are the “vanity of vanities; that they are things of no continuance” (14). Essentially what she is saying is that one can experience pain, suffering, and joy but in comparison to the eternal life, this is all meaningless. An individual can have everything in this world such as money, cars, and happiness, but if they are not worshiping God, then they will only have happiness in this world and not in the hereafter. The phrase “the vanity of vanities” can be interpreted as an individual reaching maturity and realizing that they are closer to death; an individual having everything in life only to realize that when he dies, he will...
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