The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson is probably the most famous captivity account of the English-Indian age. Rowlandson's vibrant and graphic description of her eleven week captivity by the Indians has given go up to one of the best possible literary genres of most times. Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson provides first person point of view in to the conditions of captivity, an insight to Rowlandson's views of the Indians, both before and after her captivity and a Puritan's view of faith. Rowlandson displays an alteration in her belief of "civilized" and "savage", despite the fact that her overall world view does not change.
In Narrative of the Captivity and Recovery of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, Mary Rowlandson, a housewife and a mom of 3 from Lancaster, Massachusetts recounts the invasion of her town of Lancaster by Indians in 1676 during King Philip's Conflict. Over those weeks, Ronaldson deals with the death of her youngest child in her forearms, the loss of her family and friends and her bad living conditions even while she battle to keep her faith in God. She also learns how to handle the Indians amongst whom she lives, which in turn causes her attitude towards them to undergo several changes. Rowlandson reaches first shocked at the approach to life and activities of Indians, but time suppresses her reliance on them. By the finish of her captivity, her admiration for the Indian ability to survive in the wilderness with limited resources significantly increases. Despite her growing admiration of the Indian lifestyle, her attitude towards them always sustains a view they are the "enemy". Furthermore, Rowlandson's experience in captivity and face with the new, or "Other" religious beliefs of the Indians causes her rethink, and question her past; her experience do not however cause her to redirect her life or change her ideals in any way.
Throughout the narrative, Rowlandson exhibits a violent collision between "civilized" and "savage" in her mindset. In the opening of her narrative, she expresses that "It is a solemn nights to see so many Christians lying down in their bloodstream, some here, plus some there, just like a company of sheep torn by wolves" (Rowlandson 8). At first sight, this text message may seem to be always a ghastly depiction of the vision at Lancaster on the night of February 10th, 1676, but a deeper evaluation might show usually. Rowlandson used the idea of the bible the depicts Jesus as a shepherd, and his fans as an innocent flock of sheep to bring a parallel between the Puritans to be innocent and civilized and the Indians being outdoors and "savage" pets.
Food takes on an important role as its constant scarcity in the narrative and provides us a glance of how it changes Rowlandson's views of savages and civilized. "The first week of my being included in this, I barely eat anything; the next week, I found my stomach expand very faint for want of something; and yet it was very difficult to get down their filthy garbage; however the third week, though I could think how previously my tummy would turn against this or that, and I could starve and expire before I possibly could eat might be found, yet they were nice and savory to my style" (Rowlandson 24). In this particular passage we can see how her views about the meals she previously represents as "filthy trash" is currently attractive to her. Physically, three weeks of lowest food and exhausting travel took a toll on Rowlandson, and her dependence on food is strong enough to triumph over any disgust she previously sensed about eating the Indians' food. On a mental level, this proves Rowlandson's growing distance to civilized habit and blending along with that of her captors.
The function of religion plays a substantial role in the narrative, especially the dissimilarities between the narrator's religious beliefs and the "Other" religion of her captors. Rowlandson constantly attracts parallel between the testimonies of the bible and her own activities. More specifically the Puritan ideology of the narrator discloses the dissimilarities between religions and ethnicities in this narrative. We have learned that however the Puritans fled to America for spiritual independence, they brutalized those not of the religion and customs. After considered into captivity by the North american Indians, or "ravenous bears" (Rowlandson 9) as Rowlandson identifies them, she conveys her strong Puritan prices, by criticizing and demeaning the Indian's religion, or as illustrated by Rowlandson, their complete insufficient beliefs, morals and religious conviction. Rowlandson portrays the Indians as a horrific varieties; however what Rowlandson considers evil and frightening, can be the ideals of other humans. For example Rowlandson, in her first face with the Indians, is quick to remark, "Oh the roaring, and singing, and dance, and yelling of these dark creature in the night, which made the place a lively resemblance of hell" (Rowlandson 10). It really is obvious out of this statement that Rowlandson, because of her strong rules, immediately judges those not the same as herself. This shows the narrators ignorance as well as her ideology. While Puritanism is a model or code of life for Rowlandson and other Puritans, it causes a strict way of life and perception system which can result in ignorance in both patterns and frame of mind. The conditions and images Rowlandson uses signify dark, hellish, devilish individuals who've no sense of civility. Furthermore the Indians, or "Others", who aren't Religious, and practice their own spiritual customs, are viewed as barbaric and unnatural to Rowlandson.
Upholding the Puritan belief of Precedence, or God's hand in all areas of life, Rowlandson constantly writes about God's will in her anguish. Rowlandson's interaction with the "Other" and her Puritan concepts reveal a larger importance to the narrator. Rowlandson feels that her captivity is immediately related to God's will, and for that reason feels that God is punishing her for sins she determined in her history. As a result she is motivated to repent her sins to God, and devotes a lot of her time reading the bible (which she received from an Indian as a spoil of warfare), reciting scripture, even though she learns to adjust to her difficult situation, she actually is careful to keep her ideals and integrity throughout the time she is detained. For example on the first Sabbath during Rowlandson's confinement she remarks, "I then remembered how careless I had been of Gods holy time: just how many Sabbaths I had formed lost and misspent, and how evilly I had strolled in Gods sight; which lay so close upon my Heart, that it was possible for me to see how righteous it was with God to cut off the thread of my life, and cast me out if his occurrence forever" (Rowlandson 14). It is clear out of this declaration that the narrator connects her come across with the Indians, or the "Other" as a reprimand from God, and an indicator that she had been sinful in the past. Acquired she not encountered the Indians, she might not exactly have ever questioned her devotedness to God or her earlier ways of life, such as the way she spent her Sabbaths before captivity.
"WHILE I lived in success; getting the comforts of the World about me, my Relations by me, and my center cheerful: and taking little care for anything; yet viewing many (whom I preferred before myself) under many tests and afflictions, in sickness, weakness, poverty, losses, crosses, and cares of the Worlds, I should be sometimes jealous a minimum of I will have my part in this life however now I see the Lord had his the perfect time to scourge and chasten me" (Rowlandson 78).
The evidence from the narrative in many ways could characterize this are a text where the narrator (Mary Rowlandson) realizes her blunders before and redirects her life appropriately. This is not true regarding Rowlandson, to become more specific her experience and connection with the Indians do not concern her Puritan ideologies, but instead confirms and strengthens them. When the narrator returns to her former lifestyle she by no means demonstrates any new knowledge from her experience, but rather returns home with the same amount of ignorance that she got before her captivity. Rowlandson also contradicts herself in the narrative by admitting that the Indians did not harm her and then contacting them "cruel heathens" an instant later (Rowlandson 72). For example she suggests "not just one of them ever before offered minimal maltreatment of unchastity to me, in term or action" (Rowlandson 71). After attaining her liberty however, Rowlandson proves she has not modified her ideals or mindset in regards to the Indians by saying, "I was not before so much hemmed within the merciless and cruel Heathen, however now just as much with pitiful, tenderhearted, and compassionate Christians. In the indegent and distressed and beggarly condition I used to be received in" (Rowlandson 72). Rowlandson facilitates with this assertion that although she challenges the way she conducted her life in the past, she obviously does not wish to reconcile anything. Another interesting point about Rowlandson's assertion is the fact she identifies her friends, family members, acquaintances etc. as "Christians, " alternatively than an alternative noun, which further shows her strict Puritan ideals never have been modified.
A similar case of Rowlandson's ongoing ignorance even after her face with the "Other" is when she displays how God conserved the opponent, or alternatively the Indians, in the wilderness throughout the time she was with them. The narrator remarks, "I cannot but stand in admiration to start to see the wonderful electric power of God, in providing for such a multitude of our foes in the Wilderness, where there was nothing to be seen, but from hands to mouth area" (Rowlandson 68). Rowlandson is at awe that God would allow Indians endure in the wilderness which ultimately shows her prejudice since it infers that non-Puritans shouldn't be in a position to live and prosper solely on the basis of their religion. This is yet another exemplory case of Rowlandson's unchanged judgment of the "Other" (American Indians).
It is clear that the Puritan religious beliefs plays a substantial role in this narrative. Mary Rowlandson throughout the narrative conveys to the reader her strong religious values and ideals. When encountered with the issues and complications of captivity, Rowlandson questions her past, and feels that God is punishing her. Throughout the narrative the narrator is continually judging the "Other, " or the Indians, painting a ghastly image of their ways and traditions to the reader. Her viciousness for the "Other" is because of her strong ideologies which cause her to be ignorant and prejudice to the people different from her. Although Rowlandson questions her history, she will not then redirect her life after captivity, but instead goes back to the same way of life and same frame of mind as before.
Rowlandson's mistrust of the "Praying Indians" is evident from every line directed towards them in the narrative. "There is another Praying Indian, who explained, that he previously a brother that could not eat equine; his conscience was so soft and scrupulous (though as large as hell, for the devastation of poor Christians)" (Rowlandson 56). This passage shows how Rowlandson makes a clear differentiation between your Christians and Indians, even although praying Indians were Christians too, comparable to how she portrayed British Christians as sheep and Indians as wolves. Despite the fact that Rowlandson portrayed somewhat racist views within the "praying Indians", they were a product of her time and cannot be marked different from other Puritans. As Ruler Phillip's War broke out, some praying Indians joined their indigenous tribes to redeem the unfair treatment they were subjected to, an take action that brought on the Puritans to see all Indians in the light of question. Rowlandson's views can be justified within historical and situational framework; although not deemed right. Rowlandson's euro-centric view of the world also is necessary here when to her the term Christian put on only a certain race and nationality and Christian and British are basically one and the same.
This narrative, as shown after through modern eye, shows how difficult it is to alter someone's ideals, particularly if they are increased a strict Puritan through the 1600s. If Rowlandson got returned to her Puritan community a different person, then she'd have been chastised by contemporary society, and most likely not welcomed again. The goal in writing this narrative therefore had not been to show viewers how her experiences altered her life, but rather the opposite. Rowlandson's aim in writing this book was to verify her trust to her visitors, and persuade the Puritan world that religion came first even throughout the difficulties she endured during captivity. It is for this specific reason that Rowlandson paints such a horrifying picture of the Indians in the narrative, and is continually referring to God throughout the entire word. If she experienced shown any sympathy into the Indian's and their religious values, then she probably would have been ridiculed by her peers. To summarize, in the context of present day times this narrative, through Rowlandson's own words, demonstrates that religious ideologies can be amazingly steadfast, hypocritical, and prejudice. Mary Rowlandson is proof of how binding and influential the Puritan lifestyle was at that time period. Mary Rowlandson, did not change her views of Local Americans, although her definitions of savage and civilized change, her ideas about the Indians after her release were unchanged, rather solidified. She still portrayed mistrust on the praying Indians.
Rowlandson, Mary White. The Narrative of the Captivity and Recovery of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, Sandwich, MA: Chapman Billies, 1998. Print.
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