Comparing Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson

Topics: Captivity narrative, Mary Rowlandson, God Pages: 7 (2696 words) Published: November 17, 2013
Sabrina Smith
Faithful Women
Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson were two influential women in early American literature. They were both women of “firsts”. Anne Bradstreet’s poems were the first published volume written by an American (110). I found it amazing that Bradstreet, a woman, was the first considering how women were looked upon in matters of literature and science. I admire her for being modest about her poetry and how she is very unassuming, but at the same time Bradstreet never gives writing poetry up. She continued to write about love, God, her suffering, and her children. In a time where women were treated as inferior and not as intelligent, Bradstreet is an inspiration. Mary Rowlandson was strong in her faith and held on to hope throughout her ordeals. Her Indian captivity narrative was the first of its kind and began a whole collection of captivity narratives. She was a good example that hardship can better a person. In the context of her own time period, she showed that keeping faith in God and relying upon His word and timing are all you need in life. She also proved that a person can come out on the other side of the “savages” still a devout Christian. In the context of modern ages, she models the classic lesson of walking in somebody else’s shoes or in this case, moccasins. She finds that the Indians are not as savage as her former and fellow Puritans made them out to be. Rowlandson learns that the line between the Puritans and the Native Americans was not as big as she believes in the beginning. The Indians showed respect and civility towards her and sometimes she descended into savagery. Rowlandson seemed to discover that civility and human decency is based on the person, not the race. Anne Bradstreet wrote many poems including “The Prologue”. This poem is about her poetry and how, although stated with a sarcastic tone, her work would never be as good as a man’s poetry. In “To My Dear Children”, Bradstreet writes a letter to her children for when she is dead and gone. It is filled with advice about God. She mentions all the times she had strayed away and God always brought her back to him. Mary Rowlandson’s capture was in 1675 during King Philip’s war. She discusses her experience in her narrative The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, Native Americans were burning down her town, and killing many of her relatives and neighbors. Most of her family is taken from her during this time. Her husband is out of town, and two of her children were captured as well. Her youngest is kept with her, but they are both severely injured and the child eventually dies. Rowlandson is then sold to another Native American and is visited by her other children to whom she reads a bible one of the Indians gave her after another raid. She believes the Indians are running from the English Army and they keep moving around. They meet up with King Philip and Rowlandson discovers that the Indians will trade her food and other resources for her work as a seamstress. During her captivity she is treated with a combination of kindness and cruelty from her captors. She experiences cruelty from a few of the Indians who threaten her life several times and from her "mistriss", Wettimore. Wettimore throws out Rowlandson’s bible, she chases her with a big stick after Rowlandson wouldn’t give up her apron, she does not feed her well enough, and many other grievances. Rowlandson experiences kindness from some of the other Indians who let her ride on the horse when her and her child could no longer walk after they were first captured due to injuries. There were also Native Americans who would shelter her and feed her when Wettimore turned her back on Rowlandson. Rowlandson even says in the twelfth remove that her master was the best friend she had of an Indian, showing that not all of the Native Americans were mean to her (Rowlandson 86). Rowlandson never gives up hope of going home, especially when she...

Cited: Bradstreet, Anne. "The Prologue." 1650. The Norton Anthology American Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W Norton, 2013. 110-12. Print.
Bradstreet, Anne. "To My Dear Children." 1867. The Norton Anthology American Literature. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W Norton, 2013. 123-26. Print.
Rowlandson, Mary White, and Neal Salisbury. The Sovereignty and Goodness of God with Related Documents. Boston: Bedford, 1997. Print.
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