Mary Rowlandson And Melville 's Witnessing Captivity Essay

1662 Words 7 Pages
At first glance, one might assume that an author publishing in 1682 would have no realistic chance of sharing a common message as an author publishing one hundred and seventy-three years later in 1855. However, captive narratives enjoyed large readerships, and for that reason frequently remained popular topics throughout history. Despite their separation in the gulf of time, Mary Rowlandson and Herman Melville shared similar involvement in witnessing captivity. While the New World offered an abundance of social and financial potential, it simultaneously fostered the negative abilities humans are capable of as seen by both authors. Giving an account of the horrendous acts committed by both sides, history acts as a third party in its accounting of confrontations between Americans and cultures like the Indians and African slaves. Through their writing, Rowlandson and Melville provide strikingly similar first-hand accounts reflecting societies racist attitudes towards the cultures they encountered, using their narratives as propaganda, as well as describing the explosive violence of their time-periods. In coming to the New World, early settlers encounter a culture holding vastly different opinions from their own in terms of religion, morality, modesty, and social structure. This is not much different from the booming slave business transplanting people with dark skin and strange customs from Africa. Adjectives such as wretched, savage, beast, creature, and dog convey…

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