Comparing Benjamin Franklin to Mary Rowlandson
The literature written during this time period reveals the important part the supernatural (God) played during those changing times. The new world was struggling for a new identity. Were these individuals also defining the role of God to themselves? In this discussion the lives of Mary Rowlandson and Benjamin Franklin will be compared. Each penned a narrative of their life experiences. There are marked contrasts and comparisons between these two individuals in relation to their perceptions of God.
Religion was a dynamic part of life in Colonial America. A shift from faith to deism was occurring. The Puritans of this time were escaping the Church of England. Their hope was to return to the more primitive ways, to reject the churches hierarchy and ritual.
Mary Rowlandson, a puritan in Lancaster, Massachusetts was seized by Indians, along with three of her children in 1676. In her narrative she recounts the story of her survival in the wilderness for a period of three months. She is taken away from her home and husband, "all was gone (except my life); and I knew not but the next moment what might go too.
Benjamin Franklin's The Autobiography is an account of his life and begins with his boyhood in Boston. He later flees to Philadelphia to escape his brother's rule over him. He relates how he was "dirty", "fatigu'd", and "Want of Rest". In these depictions we can see a similarity. Both individuals are removed from their homes and families. Although Benjamin Franklin's removal was of his own free will. They each suffered as they no longer had the comforts of which they were comfortable. Rowlandson's faith was amazing considering all that she endured. Throughout the narrative she must rely on her faith in God. She includes numerous verses from the Bible to offer explanations for all that she has suffered, "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the...
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