American Lit 1
Mary Rowlandson vs. Mary Jemison’s
And Their Interpretations of the Indians.
Mary Rowlandson was a Puritan women living in Lancaster, Massachusetts with her husband Joseph, and their three children, when the Indians captured them. The Indians killed Rowlandson’s sister and her youngest child. In 1758, fifteen year old Mary Jemison was captured by a Shawnee and French raiding party that attacked her farm. She was adopted and incorporated into the Senecas, she became very close to her Seneca sisters. Mary refused the opportunity to return home, finding life in Indian society more rewarding, then going back to the British colonial culture. These two women had very similar interpretations of the Indians and how they treated them. Mary Rowlandson’s view of the Indians that captured her, is harsher compared to Mrs. Jemison’s. Mrs. Rowlandson saw them burn and destroy homes, knock people on the head, and kill the ones she loved and knew. I can see why she referred to them as “barbarous creatures”, “murderous wretches”, "heathen," "ravenous beasts," and "hell-hounds”. A women of her stature, who was a puritan and thought of these people to be of the wilderness, was not used to their way of life. She and her children were dragged through the wilderness, trying their best to survive. She began to adapt to the living conditions by finding her own food, making her own clothes, and tolerating the Indians. She relied on God and scriptures to uplift her spirit as she traveled with her capturers; which I believe helped her not only survive, but helped her learn that the Indians are Gods creation too, and should be forgiven just as the Lord has forgiven us of our sins, even if they did do horrible things to her and the people she knew.
Mary Jemison on the other hand did not go through such a horrifying experience when the Indians captured her and her family. She heard that there had been conflict in the Indian and French War and there could be no doubt that they might get involved in the turmoil. When she came of age she married a Delaware man named Sheninjee and had a child with him, whom she called Thomas after her father. Mrs. Jemison stated that they were captured by six Indians and four Frenchman, who immediately commenced plundering and took what they considered most valuable, which consisted of bread, meal, and meat. On that same day as they were marching, she said an Indian went behind us with a whip, with which he frequently lashed the children to make them keep up; we traveled till dark without a mouthful of food or a drop of water. She also states that when the children cried for water at night they were made to drink urine .The Indians took her and a little boy, after they put moccasins on their feet, and led them to another path leaving the others behind. Jemison stated that “early the next morning the Indians and Frenchmen that we had left the night before, came to us; but our friends were left behind. It is impossible for anyone to form a correct idea of what my feelings were at the sight of those savages , whom I supposed had murdered my parents and brothers, sisters, and friends, and left them in the swamp to be devoured by wild beasts!”(pg. 137). Jemison probably hated them at this moment but who wouldn’t they left her family to be murdered, but while she traveled on this long journey with them she began to watch the customs the natives were used to and did; like getting rid of their tracks left behind them and making sure everything they touched was put back into place so they would not be followed. She recalls that even though she was there prisoner they supplied her with a meal, new Indian clothes, they undressed and dressed her and washed her clean. After the Indians had did these things for her, they relieved there cries and howling at a ceremony for a deceased relative; Mrs. Jemison goes on to say “in the course of that ceremony, from mourning they...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document