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Mary Rowlandson & Increase Mather
Readers of Mary Rowlandson's narrative of Indian capitivity within the Puritan colonization of Massachussetts may very well wonder at what Increase Mather's influence on the original text was. It is now widely agreed by scholars that the preface to the book is Mather's work -- and his official imprimatur may very well have contributed to the remarkable popularity of Rowlandson's work. As testament to the popularity of Rowlandson's book on its original publication in 1682, Greene notes that "the first edition is not known to survive…the rarity of the book grew out of its wide popularity: copies were read to pieces," going through "more than thirty editions" and retaining widespread popularity well into the nineteenth century. (Greene 25). Because of Mather's proprietary role in guiding Rowlandson to publication, and including a sort of instruction on how to read her work, scholars have been quick to…… [Read More]
In addition to serving as a "religious confessional" that allows readers to understand the cultural gap between the Native Americans and the English, Rowlandson includes many details that can classify her work as a "visceral thriller," details that continue to expand on the theme of differences, or a gap, between the two cultures. She does this primarily through her descriptions of Native American cruelty -- most poignantly and passionately in her descriptions of the battle during her opening paragraphs. She repeatedly refers to the Native Americans' murdering the townspeople as "knock[ing] them over the head," a phrase which echoes the savagery and meaninglessness with which she believes the Native Americans are acting. More vividly characteristic of a "visceral thriller" is her description of a man who "begged of them his life." Instead, Rowlandson describes how the Natives "stripped him naked and split open his bowels" (Rowlandson). In addition to these…… [Read More]
This idea was considered to be logical and reasonable, in contrast to ideas such as the Divine Right of Kings, which stressed that a king was ordained by God to be the ruler, and thus could not be opposed by his subjects. Jefferson suggests that there is a social contract between the ruled and the ruler, and when the ruler is abusive and transgresses the right of the ruled, the ruled should be able to throw off that yolk, regardless of custom and historical precedent.
While it is true that Jefferson does call the King a "tyrant," when he does so he immediately lists practical grievances, to show that this abuse is not hurled without some justification (Jefferson 118). For example: "He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly and continually for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people" (Jefferson 118). Rather than dealing with the colonists,…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Mary Rowlandson, Hannah Dustin, and Mary Jamison coped with captivity in their own way. The stories of their captivity revealed the great variety of customs among native American through the greatly different treatment afforded to the three women. Depending on the customs of the tribe that they encountered, or the specific political situation, each of the women was treated differently as either prisoners of war, slaves, or adopted as family members. Natives took captives in order to show their resistance to the settler's occupation of their land, as a custom to increase the members of their tribe, or even for monetary gain.
Mary hite Rowlandson, wife of Puritan minister Joseph Rowlandson, was captured by native Americans in February of 1676. During this time, King Philip, the leader of the ampanoag tribe of southern Massachusetts organized a rebellion against the incursion of white settlers on native land. In total 23 settlers…… [Read More]
Even though some of the Indians were kind to her, she never changes her mind about them, and never gives them the benefit of the doubt, even when they ransom her and keep their word about taking her home.
Mary's faith carried her through her ordeal, and helped after she returned to her husband, as well. Eventually, both her son and daughter were ransomed, and the family moved to Boston, since nothing was left of their home in Lancaster. She writes, "The Lord hath been exceeding good to us in our low estate, in that when we had neither house nor home, nor other necessaries, the Lord so moved the hearts of these and those towards us, that we wanted neither food, nor raiment for ourselves or ours" (owlandson). Strangers and friends helped the family get back on their feet, and eventually, they moved to Connecticut. Her story is one…… [Read More]
It is evident that in his case, he tried to improve his condition by looking at his captors as providing him with guidance, and it is in this perception that Equiano's journey becomes meaningful, both literally and symbolically, as he eventually improved his status in life by educating himself after being a free man.
Bozeman (2003) considered Equiano's experience as beneficial and resulted to Equiano's changed worldview at how he looked at slavery and British society (his 'captors). Bozeman argued that Equiano's worldview became "fluid," wherein
…he is exceptional among his contemporary British brethren: not only is he able to stand both on the inside and outside of the window of British society, Equiano can move efficiently between the two…Accepting the essence of who Equiano is, in the end, is to acknowledge the reality he was a living oxymoron perpetuating a simply complex life (62).
It is this "fluid" worldview…… [Read More]
Puritans and Native Americans
What scholars call the "captivity narrative" has had a remarkable life of its own in American culture: stories about this kind of "captivity" continued to be told as entertainment, in Hollywood films like "The Searchers" or "Dances With Wolves," long after anyone had been abducted by a Native American tribe and held captive. It is worth inquiring why this particular type of story maintains its fascination for an American audience, by returning to where these narratives first came from, and how they were told in the centuries before Hollywood movies existed. In Colonial America, the life of Mary owlandson presents an excellent way to examine the clash of cultures. owlandson was born in England but came to New England as a Puritan colonist: she was then abducted during the "First Indian War" and held for several months before a ransom was paid and she was released…… [Read More]
Puritan women in the New World of the United States were torn between belief that their "hope and treasure lies above" and their very real need to survive and create a loving community on earth. The Puritans were English Protestants, and they had very strong views on a variety of issues. For example, Puritans believed in the literal authority provided by the Bible, and that individuals who did things wrong in life would be punished by God (Coffey & Lim, 2008). There was also no guarantee of salvation for Puritans, and anything they would do for atonement was not enough to protect them from potential damnation in the future. The women in that society were not equal to men, and they were left to do what men wanted them to do and act a certain way in society, or they were not accepted (Coffey & Lim, 2008). Because…… [Read More]
God's Activity In Men's Lives
God's Active Role
How many people look for God's activity in their lives, and never come up with the evidence? Yet, in the lives of Mary Rowlandson, and Ben Franklin, they recognized the working of The Almighty in their every day circumstances. Maybe it was that they didn't look for God to prove himself to them, but they acknowledged that the Almighty God is always at work. Maybe it was their colonial upbringing which emphasized that God is active in the lives of his children which taught them to see the Hand of God in everyday situations.
What could be said with a measure of certainty is that these two did not have a pre-determined list of what they expected god to do for them. In the two readings, Ben Franklin recognized God's hands in protection and providential care throughout his lifetime which grew from…… [Read More]
Captain Smith by Pocahontas
Antonio Capellano's sculpture The Preservation of Captain Smith by Pocahontas (1825) is still in the Capitol Rotunda along with other works of the same period such as illiam Penn's Treaty with the Indians and The Landing of the Pilgrims, although they no longer resonate with audiences in the same way as they did in the 19th Century. In the 20th and 21st Centuries, more sophisticated and educated viewers at least would realize that these are all the product of an era of estern expansion and a highly romanticized view of history that is heavily tinged with racism and white nationalism. hen these sculptures were first commissioned by the U.S. government, the early republic was engaged in westward expansion that would result in the destruction, displacement or removal of most Native Americans, a process that most white Americans of the era regarded as necessary and beneficial. All…… [Read More]
Moved" by Uvavnuk is a celebration of life, of being alive to enjoy the world. The author has captured that moment of exhilaration that most humans, if they are lucky, feel at least once in their life. It is a moment when all seems right in the world. Everything is as it should be, and being present in that moment stirs the soul and warms the heart. A Buddhist would refer to this moment as nirvana, a state of blissfulness. Andrew iget points out that Inuit poetry is unique for its juxtaposition of humans against nature, how humans are dwarfed by the enormity of nature which results in human beings "continually struggling to secure their existence" (iget). iget also notes that this view of nature corresponds to the notion of the Romantic sublime, "a combination of awe, terror, and humility" (iget). Dee Finney notes that Uvavnuk was initiated when she…… [Read More]
Point ONE: Billy Budd: Critic Eugene Goodheart is the Edythe Macy Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Brandeis University. He writes that while critics are generally divided between those who see Captain Vere as "an unwitting collaborator" with Claggart and those who feel Vere was correct to have Billy sent to the gallows. In his piece Goodheart explains that Billy is "…variously seen as Adam before the fall, as a noble barbarian, as Isaac the sacrificial victim…and as a Christ figure" (Goodheart, 2006, p. 81).
Point TO: Goodheart makes the most of his assertion that no matter what allegorical link to Billy, the protagonist is symbolic of innocence. hen Billy lashes out at Claggart, it is due to his innocence. He is first of all innocent of the charge that he was leading a mutiny, Goodheart explains. Secondly, Billy is innocent when it comes to the existence of evil (Goodheart, p.…… [Read More]