Celia Rowlandson American History Includes a Wide Term Paper

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Celia Rowlandson

American history includes a wide variety of women who have been involved with heroic acts. Two of these historic figures are Mary Rowlandson, a New England Puritan kidnapped by Indians in the 1700s, and Celia, an African-American slave who was hanged for killing her brutal master. Although their stories are very different, they demonstrated the personal fortitude to personally handle the worst of situations.

Rowlandson was living in a Massachusetts settlement when an Indian raid killed and wounded many of her fellow colonists. One of her children was killed in the massacre, another died soon later, and the third was taken by another raiding party. She was wounded and taken captive by the Indians. For three months until ransomed, she traveled with the tribe throughout the New England region as they hunted for food and eluded the colonists who were set on retaliation.

Rowlandson was born in England to a wealthy family and moved to Salem in the New World in 1639. She married a minister in 1654 and had three children. Despite the fact she had earlier said that she would rather die than be taken by the American natives, she found the inner strength to adapt to her situation by finding the will to live without her children, living day-to-day in a way very different from her upbringing, and eating foods that were very alien to her diet, such as ground nuts, roots, horse parts, and turtle meat. She even began to make and sell clothes to her captives.

After her ordeal, Rowlandson wrote the book originally titled The Soveraignty & Goodness of God, Together with the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed; Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, Commended by her to all that Desire to Know the Lord's Doings to, and Dealings with Her. Especially to her Dear Children and Relations. was written to retell the details of Mary Rowlandson's captivity and rescue in the context of religious faith. The book's title
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was later changed to Minister's Wife in New-England: Wherein is set forth, The Cruel and Inhumane Usage she underwent amongst the Heathens for Eleven Weeks time: And her Deliverance from them. Written by her own Hand, for her Private Use: and now made public at the earnest Desire of some Friends, for the Benefit of the Afflicted, to be used as a means to present a different picture of the Indians. Despite this title, the book somewhat conveyed an understanding of the captors as individuals who also suffered and displayed some goodness.

Although most settlers would have said that the King Philip War was a battle over the ownership of territory, it must be recognized for what it was: racism against a group of individuals who were not recognized as equal to the European colonists. Seeing the Indians as heathens and dangerous natives condoned the actions against them.

Unfortunately, it was not only the Indians who were seen as inferior by the Puritans, but rather anyone who was of a different race, color or religion. Even women had to know and respect their lower position in life. Rowlandson would not have been allowed to write and publish her book under typical situations, because women were not allowed to be independent thinkers. However, in this case the ends justified the means and the book was produced.

In fact, perhaps Rowlandson was able to cope so well not because she had her religious fervor to maintain her strength, but because of the way she was raised as a woman -- a very severe life where she had to fend for herself. This also may be the reason why she was able to express some positive things about the Indians. After all, she had been in a type of captivity all her life just by being born a female.

Although there are some relatively positive aspects of Rowlandson's story, this is not the case with Celia. From the moment she was born, not only was she demeaned for being a female…

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