Puritan and Indian cultures collide in Mary Rowlandson's " A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson." This is a Puritan woman's account of her captivity during the King James's War in the Indian raid on Lancaster, Massachusetts. A leading Indian family held her in captivity for eleven weeks before she is returned to her husband. She wrote about her experiences, she describes traveling from one "remove" to another with her Indian master, experiencing hard work and a cold environment.
When an author begins a piece of literature they must address an audience. Rowlandson's work seems to prove no different in which she took extreme care to keep her religious audience content. Upon analyzing this piece of literature, it becomes apparent at the detail use of typology referring to the Puritans taking recently effects and relating that to events that took place in early scripture and how her beliefs effected her view of her heavenly world and that of the Indians.
The use of typology appears during the Indian attack in the beginning of the diary. One person out of the thirty seven people in one house escapes and Mary exclaims, "and I only am escaped alone to tell the News" which refers to the suffering a survivor endures from an attack. She assumes the survivor knowing that he alone survives the Indian attack. During the third remove she finds herself among a large number of Indians that causes her to make another statement that was a comparison made between her and David. She appears to find it extremely difficult to imagine the Indians as civilized and living in communities of their own. It seems easier for her mind to accept that they are savages and band together only at the devil's will to attack god's chosen people. In the fifth remove she states, " oh that my people had hearkened to me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries." Throughout the diary, she appears to believe that the primary reason for the Indians success is to punish the Puritans for not living the life God wants them to live and that God is apparently testing her belief by showing her the similarities of the Israelites plights and her own. Once she becomes aware of these similarities, the trials or ordeals become easier for her to deal with because she is familiar with the testament and believes that in the end she will triumph if she places herself in God's hands. Mary Rowlandson's perception is the Puritans are living a devout life while the devil uses the Indians to tempt and corrupt the Puritans and the paradise world in which she lives. In the initial attack she refers to them as "bloody heathens" alluding to their apparent bloodlust as they attack her town. The Indians reinforce the fact that they are, in her eyes, the devil on earth by their ritual on the first night celebrating their victory over the Puritans. Rowlandson convinces herself that the Indians transform the woods into a hell.
Through Rowlandson's religious beliefs she believes that the Puritans are the newly chosen people. Even though she understood that all men and woman were not considered equal. Woman ruled over children and servants. She due to her husband's statue had her place in the Puritan society and was of the class. The world in which Rowlandson knew prior to her captivity was peaceful, tranquil, and comfortable. The paradise world of Rowlandson soon becomes interrupted by the Indians attack on her town. The thought of blood shed and turmoil was sickening to her mind yet to witness it was all too horrific. Rowlandson's world was soon taking away from her captivity by the Indians. Rowlandson's life is that in which one must believe in the Puritan way or you are following or abiding by the devil. The Indians are in Rowlandson's mind, the evil in her world. As far as the Puritan community was concerned, the Indians, no matter what tribe,...
Cited: Rowlandson, Mary. "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson." Rpt. In The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Vol. I
Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1998. 297-329.
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