Mary Rowlandson's Story Essay

Mary Rowlandson's Story Essay

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Mary Rowlandson was captured from her home in Lancaster, Massachusetts by Wampanoag Indians during King Phillip’s War. She was held captive for several months. When she was released she penned her story, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. During much of her story she refers to the Indians as savage beasts and heathens but at times seems admire them and appreciate their treatment of her. Mary Rowlandson has a varying view of her Indian captors because she experienced their culture and realized it was not that different from Puritan culture.
Rowlandson watches as her family members are killed and kidnapped by Indians. At the beginning of her story she says she used to think she would rather be killed than taken captive by Indians, but when the time comes, she changes her mind and is taken by the “ravenous beasts,” (238). Rowlandson has never been around Indians. She knows only what she has been told about Indians, which is to fear and hate them, because they are savages. She feels she is being taken from civilization into the wilderness.
When she is first taken, Rowlandson is very adamant about noticing the difference between civilized Puritan life and the savage Indians. They eat horse and bear meat, things she finds uncivilized. When the Indians give her food, she often has it stolen from her by other Indians. The first week of her captivity she did not eat very much. She wrote that if was “very hard to get down their filthy trash,” (243). She was very ungrateful of the food they gave her, when they did not have to give her any at all. After she had been captive for a while she began to appreciate the food she was given. When she does eat and enjoy the uncivilized food the Indians give her, s...

... middle of paper ... the Puritans. Her plentiful use of scripture not only reinforces the Puritan belief in the mind of the reader, but also in Rowlandson’s own mind. If she can connect each feeling she had that was not correct in traditional Puritan thinking to a verse in the bible, she can be at peace with what she felt. She could believe that she wasn’t wrong in her feelings of gratitude and perhaps even respect for the Indian culture.
Rowlandson’s journey was uncommon among Puritans of the time. She saw a more humane side of the savage, evil Indians that most Puritans did not or refused to see. Although she attributed their compassionate and humane behavior to god, she did acknowledge it, which was a first among Puritans. Though she may not have done it intentionally, Mary Rowlandson became one of the first Puritans to treat the Indians like human beings in their writing.

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