American History Assignment
Review Mary Rowlandson’s narrative as a faith narrative instead of a capture narrative. If instead of viewing the work as an attempt to tell the true story of a capture, it is read as a reaffirmation of faith in God, how does that change the meaning?
Write a 500-750 word essay on one of the following topics. Aim for a 5-paragraph essay structure ( introduction with thesis, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion).
Your essay should be formatted in MLA style, including double spacing throughout. All sources should be properly cited both in the text and on a works cited page. As with most academic writing, this essay should be written in third person. Please avoid both first person (I, we, our, etc.) and second person (you, your).
Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative as a Faith Narrative Instead of a Capture Narrative – Sample Essay
Taken against her will in sight of slain British soldiers and some of her relatives; her village and home in gushes of fire; separated from family and society; and lost her child during captivity-this is a brief horrific recount of a life Mary Rowlandson-a puritan from the colonial village of Lancaster, in Massachusetts- experienced in her eleven week captivity with native Americans who viciously attacked and destroyed her village. During this cruel and vicious attack, her brother in-law lost his life and the whole settlement was burnt down in the encounter. Rowlandson’s narrative of events during her captivity seemed to have been clouded by her faith rather than the actual turn of events-given the fact that she was from a purely puritan society and a wife to a reverend.Scarbrough argued thatMary Rowlandson was entirely driven to publish her diary by her desire to cement Christianity portrayal among puritans that God acts through retribution and forgiveness upon one’s recognition of their wrongs (124). Therefore it is imperative to note that from Scarbrough’s assessment, Rowlandson would never have published her diary if it in any way violated her faith and beliefs in the puritan teachings on Christianity.
Consequently at such a time her account of events was shrouded by what her society would make of her opinion and position on puritan Christian values. Rowlandson justifies her captivity as God‘s will, and his continual to be with her even in the toughest of times:
After this it quickly began to snow, and when night came on, they stopt: and now down I must sit in the snow, by a little fire, and a few boughs behind me, with my sick Child in my lap; and calling much for water, being now (through the wound) fallen into a violent Fever..( Rowlandson, 75)
However strong one’s belief in God was, it’s difficult to imagine that one would not question their faith in God given such terrible moments especially when losing their beloved youngster.
Throughout her recount of events from the beginning to the end; faith in God is the most predominant theme all the way through her narrative. During the narration of her capture Rowlandson began by writing about how in 1675, on the tenth day of February, she encountered great numbers of Indians upon Lancaster. She introduced faith right away by recognising the existence of heaven. Rowlandson even went ahead to quote books in the bible during her narration; “When we were come, Oh the number of Pagans (now merciless enemies) that there came about me, that I may say as David, Psal. 27. 13, I had fainted, unless I had believed, etc.” (Rowlandson, 79) suggesting a narration based on hard-line belief in God’s will in whatever happened to her during her capture and time with the Native Americans.
It is no coincidence that Mrs. Rowlandson tried to portray to her readers that she tried to observe their most important day in puritan social order – Sabbath- despite her nature of captivity and the hurdles that lay in her way. In her account, Mrs. Rowlandson desired that they should not push her to attend her normal duties on a Sabbath day; she implored them to allow her rest promising to double her efforts the following day (Scarbrough & Rowlandson, 122). The response to her desires was not welcome because they even threatened to break her face. This would let her gain empathy from her society in addition to her portrayal as a strong Christian woman who against all odds did not forsake God. As result it would reinforce Christian values among puritans
In summary, by taking into consideration the state in which Rowlandson was kept during her captivity in addition to losing her child; it’s difficult to believe that she would maintain sound judgement basing on her normal way of life and also remain main a strong undisputable relationship with God despite the ordeal she went through. This cements a logical conclusion that Mary Rowlandson’s narration of captivity was not a story about the life of a captor rather a story that reaffirms faith among Christians even when they’re in their darkest time.
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