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A Comparison Contrast Essay On Perceptions Of The Supernatural In Lives Of Mary Rowlandson And Benjamin Franklin

834 words - 3 pages

A Comparison and Contrast of theSupernatural's Active Role in theLives of Mary Rowlandson and Benjamin FranklinThe literature written during this time period reflectsthe important part the supernatural (God) played duringthose changing times. The new world was struggling for a newidentity. Were these individuals also defining the role ofGod to themselves?In the preceding discussion the lives of MaryRowlandson and Benjamin Franklin will be discussed. Eachwrote a narrative of their life experiences. There aremarked contrasts and comparisons between these twoindividuals related to their perceptions of God.Religion was a vital part of life in colonial America.A shift from theism to deism was occurring. The Puritans ofthis time were fleeing the Church of England. Their hope wasto return to the more primitive ways, to reject the churcheshierarchy and ritual.Mary Rowlandson, a puritan in Lancaster, Massachusettswas captured by Indians, along with three of her children inthe year 1676. In her narrative she relates the story ofher survival in the wilderness for a period of three months.She is taken away from her home and husband, 'all was gone(except my life); and I knew not but the next moment thatmight go too' (127).Benjamin Franklin's The Autobiography is an account ofhis life and begins with his boyhood life in Boston. Helater flees to Philadelphia to escape his brother's ruleover him. He relates how he was 'dirty', 'fatigu'd', and'Want of Rest' (222).In these depictions we can see an analogy. Theseindividuals are removed from their homes and families.Although Benjamin Franklin's removal was of his own freewill. They each suffered as they no longer had the comfortsof which they were accustomed.Rowlandson's faith was remarkable considering all thatshe endured. Through out the narrative she must rely on herfaith in God. She incorporates numerous verses from theBible to offer explanations for all that she has suffered,'Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shallstrengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the Lord' (129). Itis also noted that she was able to use her trade to survive,'knitting a pair of white cotton stockings for mymistress'(130). This is also a parallel to Franklin in thathe also used his trade to survive. But one must ask what ismotivating Rowlandson? Is she writing for posterity or isshe merely egocentric? Rowlandson has depicted herself as3the ultimate Puritan. Was the glory to God or to herself?She also relates here 'how many Sabbaths I had lost andmisspent' (128). It is interesting to note that toward theend of the narrative she begins to see that her fate is inGod's hands, 'When...

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