This essay summarizes the key aspects of Rowlandson’s captivity story; the reasons behind her captivity; how she juxtaposes the bible and her experiences; the trials and tribulations that she had to confront in the hands of her captors; the type of succor that she received during her moments of crisis; her attitude towards her Native Americans captors; the culture, traditions and attitude of the her captors namely the Algokian Indians; the hardships the Indians had to endure at the hands the colonists; my thoughts on her narrative
Rowlandson’s vivid and graphic description of her eleven week captivity by Algokian Indians has given rise to one of the finest literary genres of all times. The author has also used her traumatic experience to dictate a narrative that asserts her faith in puritan theology.
The placidity between the colonists and the Native Americans was declining. The colonists were on a rampage of encroachment into lands owned by Native Americans. This triggers a 3 year war between King Philip, a Wampanoag chief, (referred to as Metacom by the Native Americans) and the colonists. This war had a major impact on the author’s life, if not the Native Americans life as well. During the war the English colonists run out of food. In order to obtain food they drive Algonkians out of their own country and accumulate all their provisions and supplies. This shows the inhumane treatment meted out to the Native Americans at that time. The Narrhagansets, a Native American tribe, who had formed allies with King Philip, were one such group who came under this tyranny of the colonists. Narrhagansets having run out of food, try to seek retribution by killing some of the colonists and holding some colonists captive as servants.
In one of these battles, at Lancaster, Massachusetts, the author along with her children also gets captured in one such raid. Her brother-in-law and her sister die in the attack. The authors child Sarah gets wounded, and eventually dies a few days later. Her children get separated. This portrays the revengeful attitude and nature of the Native Americans.
This also indicates the fact that despite going hungry and homeless for days, the native Americans resist the domineering rule of the colonists.
The author is held captive by the Native Americans for a ransom. She led a nomadic life and had to work in order to obtain food. She goes starving for days. Whenever she tried resisting their orders, she is threatened that she would be killed and in one instance, one woman even hits her with a stick. She made clothes or hats for the papoose and got food in return. In spite of the hardships she had to face, the Amerindians were kind to her in many ways. When she offered the shillings that she got for the clothes she made to her master, the master did not accept it and asked her to keep it. The Amerindians did not...