Mary Rowlandson: A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration
In exploring, the captivity of a puritan woman on the tenth of February 1675, by the Indians with great rage and numbers, Mary Rowlandson will portray many different views of the Indians in her recollected Narrative. Starting off with a savage view of ruthless Indian violence, and then after seeing the light of God in delivery of a Bible by an Indian warrior returning from the demise of a near puritan fight, Concluding with the friendly release of her as if she almost became one of the Indian people.
Mary Rowlandson begins the view of her captors in a negative way, as they brutally mutilate her friends, family and neighbors. On the departure of her first thoughts of captivity, she says “Now away we must go with those barbarous creatures, with our bodies wounded and bleeding, and our hearts no less than our bodies.” (Rowlandson 130) She endures many graphic images, painted easily, with the embedment it had on her brain. In Colin Ramsey’s critical essay of ‘Cannibalism and Infant Killing: A System of 'Demonizing' Motifs in Indian Captivity Narratives’ he describes “Mary Rowlandson's captivity narrative was the first in a long succession of Puritan captivity accounts that painted Indians as Satanic cannibalistic infant-killers. Rowlandson's language conveys this message implicitly: she describes the Indians as "a company of hellhounds", who smash out the brains of some children and shoot others. "Thus we were butchered," she writes, and all the while the Indians were "roaring, singing, ranting and insulting,"--the scene looked to Rowlandson like "a company of sheep torn by wolves".” (Ramsey) From this perspective was it that the Indians had no heart, no since of home training or was it a mindset of dangerous foreign enemies before they enter battle? Were these Indians so traumatized by the possibility of over looked violence inflicted on them over time, that caused such a vicious attack on...
Cited: Baym, Nina, and Robert S. Levine. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Ramsey, Colin. "Cannibalism and Infant Killing: A System of 'Demonizing ' Motifs in Indian Captivity Narratives." Clio 24.1 (Fall 1994): 55-68. Rpt. in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800. Ed. Michael L. LaBlanc. Vol. 82. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Literature Resource Center. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
Newman, Andrew. "Captive on the literacy frontier: Mary Rowlandson, James Smith, and Charles Johnson." Early American Literature38.1 (2003): 31+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
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