Women's Indian Captivity Narratives: Book Report

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English 101
Essay #2

The fascinating history between Native Americans and white settlers in North America is a topic richly endowed with thoroughly written, first-hand accounts of war prisoners that endured many hardships during those tumultuous times. In the Women’s Indian Captivity Narratives, we learn of Mary Rowlandson, Mary Jemison, and Sarah Wakefield; three prolific women who each managed to document their personal experiences during the time they spent held against their will. In their accounts, they managed to accentuate the positive and negative relations regarding culture, race and religion between the Indigenous people of the Americas and the Colonists.

Mary Rowlandson was a proud woman of the Christian faith, wife of Reverend Joseph Rowland, whom she settled with in Lancaster, MA in the year 1656. She recounts the events that transpired on February 10th, 1675 in her narrative, where she mentions “a great number of Indians” (12) descending upon Lancaster and wreaking havoc. Her faith was tested greatly during her time in captivity, most notably when death struck her family, having claimed her youngest daughter. Rowlandson had been left “[sitting] with a picture of death in [her] lap” (17), yet her will to survive was not broken. She managed to take solace in the fact that God’s omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence would see her through the ordeal; her conviction in this belief did not waver. In an effort to pay testament to God’s mercy on her behalf, Rowlandson writes: “I cannot but take notice of the wonderful mercy of God to me in those afflictions, in sending me a bible: one of the Indians that came from Medfield fight and had brought some plunder; came to me, and asked me, if I would have a bible.. I asked him whether he thought the Indians would let me read it? He answered ‘Yes’ so I took the bible” (19). What seemed like a simple act of kindness to Rowlandson, also managed to highlight the...
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