Mirrored Worlds

Powerful Essays
There are many instances throughout literature where two pieces, told by two different narrators, and telling two different stories can be found to have similar textual qualities. This instance can be shown between A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson herself and Our Nig by Harriet E. Wilson. The stories depict the great suffering of two individuals who express similar qualities in their writings; the qualities being that each piece is a captivity narrative, there is a struggle with faith, and a silenced sexual subtext.

The first piece by Rowlandson tells the story of a white Puritan woman. She is captured by Native Americans, and goes through many hardships as she is held against her will, all the while losing a majority of her children. The latter piece by Wilson is about a biracial child named Frado. The child is left behind at an early age by her mother as she is unable to make enough money to take care of herself, her lover, and her child. Frado is then left at the house of the Bellmonts who are a white northern family. Also worth mentioning is that this story takes place during a time when slavery was not practiced in the North.

The most prominent similarity is that both of these works can be read as captivity narratives. Mary Rowlandson’s narrative is recognized as one of the earliest and most famous captivity narratives and it is easy to see this when given a rough definition of the term. explains captivity narratives to be, “stories of people captured by uncivilized enemies” (Captivity narrative). Rowlandson starts her narrative with the day of her capture, February 10, 1675. She very descriptively tells of friends and family who are murdere...

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of Harriet Wilson's Our Nig." African American Review 35.4 (2001): 561-580. Humanities International Complete. EBSCO. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.

Rowlandson, Mary. “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.”

The American Tradition in Literature. Eds. George Perkins and Barbara Perkins. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. 119 – 143. Print.

Stein, Jordan Alexander. "Mary Rowlandson's Hunger and the Historiography of

Sexuality." American Literature 81.3 (2009): 469-495. Humanities International Complete. EBSCO. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.

West, Elizabeth J. "Reworking the Conversion Narrative: Race and Christianity in Our

Nig." MELUS 24.2 (1999): 3. Humanities International Complete. EBSCO. Web. 20sw Apr. 2011.

Wilson, Harriet E. Our Nig: Sketches from the Life of a Free Black.

Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2005. Print.
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