The Ransom Of Mercy Carter Analysis

Superior Essays
The Ransom of Mercy Carter takes place in 1704 and is based off of the historical settlement of Deerfield, Massachusetts. The story follows 11-year old Mercy Carter from the moment she is kidnapped by the Mohawk Indians through her journey to her captor’s Kahnawake Indian Village in Canada. In her time with the Mohawk tribe, she is adopted into one of their families and given a name to resemble her new life as an Indian. Her transformation from an English girl to a Mohawk Indian is the essence of the story. This novel stands as a captivity narrative in a modern publication. The book was released to Random House Publishing company in 2001. Although it offers the generic conventions of a traditional captivity narrative, its modern sense …show more content…
In Mercy Carter, these two groups are represented by the people of Deerfield and the Mohawk Indians who raid the village one February night. According to Donna Campbell, a key convention in captivity narratives is the “struggle between assimilation and maintaining a seperate cultural identity.” Campbell continues to analysis this genre with the idea that a transformation occurs in the captive that includes accommodation and adoption. These characteristics are outlined in Early American captivity narratives and create a place for the genre to define what is positive assimilation and what is negative. In the historical context, assimilation of a Native American into the English/American culture was viewed as a positive outcome. For instance, Luther Standing Bear entered into a school designed to assimilate Indian boys into the American ideal of a successful individual. Adversely, assimilation of an English person into an Indian culture was negative. This was viewed as counter-productive to the Frontier ideology. Americans did not want to lose its people to the Indian culture. These ideas are tested with Mercy Carter because of the intense bond she holds with her adopted Mohawk …show more content…
An example of positive assimilation can be seen in Luther Standing Bear’s My People the Sioux. Standing Bear discusses his time spent at Carlisle Indian School, which was an establishment designed to take in Indian boys and assimilate them into white culture. This was ideal because white settlers were able to turn wild Native American boys into working, educated members of society. Today, a movement such as this would be viewed as oppressive to the Native American culture. However, the time in which it occurred allowed for it to be seen as a positive development for the American frontier. On the contrary, the Captivity of the Oatman Girls by R.B Stratton, offers negative view of assimilation as the Oatman girls are captured by Indians and forced into their culture. This was not the ideal for the time in which this account was released. Olive Oatman, the only remaining Oatman sister at the time of ransom, had developed an entire life with her captors. She married and had children with an Indian man, but still left to return to the white culture. It is because of her return in the end that allows this to be a positive outcome through the historical lens. Presumably, Mercy Carter would have made a different decision, had the story been written in the past with these ideas in mind. In

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Turing over direct control of the schools to tribal leadership would also have enhanced results because they better understand the students (“Can the U.S.”). The tribe can hire a director that will report back to the tribal council and tribe chief (“Can the U.S.”). In order to keep them accountable for the education, the tribe can then report back to the Bureau of Indian Education rather than being managed and put together by various government organizations. While one solution can make a big difference it might take multiple attempts and alternatives to bridge the education gap with native…

    • 1290 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In addition, Pratt also mentioned “Emerging the Indian in our civilization and when we get them under, holding them, until they're thoroughly soaked." This proves that he is going to change natives until they are fully absorbed into an image of white man. Certainly, there were consequences for resisting or not following the rules in the boarding school. In order to survive from this confined environment, the native children had to follow new rules whether it is acceptable or not. As I watch this film, ironic thing was how whites describe Native Americans as “bloodthirsty savages” even though natives never had the intention of war or any violence unless whites crossed the…

    • 850 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    She is calm and open to learn the ways of his community. “ What is also of significance in the story is the willingness of Pocahontas herself to cross the racial divide and by a gesture overcome the hostility between natives and settlers” (Buscome 35). As she becomes an individual member of both communities she bridges the gap between the opposite worlds. Pocahontas has a dangerous job, many colonists are very hostile toward the natives and not so welcome. They know they are imposing on someone else’s land, there were people here before them.…

    • 1349 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    We cannot take away the pain that the Native Americans suffered at the hands of the whites and vice versa. However, the descendents of the Native Americans are still affected by the hardcore truth of their history. They live less fortunate lives than white Americans in today’s world. What we can do to help them is to give Native American children and teens more opportunities at education, in order to strive for a more successful lifestyle when they grow older. Education in the 21st century America is essential and key to success.…

    • 1216 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Eva Macky Summary

    • 957 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The first reading addressed was “Settling differences: Managing and representing people and land in the Canadian national project.” by Eva Mackey. One of the first concepts Mackey discusses is the idea of “white settler innocence” (p. 26), which explores how European settlement in Canada claimed to be superordinate to the Native people already residing on the land, but seemingly treated them fairly, giving them land and autonomy, when in fact their intent was secretly selfish. Because of this “white settler innocence” (p. 26), Canada garnered a reputation as an accepting and tolerant nation, in particularly towards the Native people, especially when compared to the United State’s treatment of Native people. When in fact Canadian’s only used…

    • 957 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    2). The Alaskan girl was adopted by a well off white family and moved to Wichita. Although Stabler does not provide much information about her or even her name, but he implies that she was happy with her parents and that they provided for her future (pg. 22). Long Wing and the Alaskan girl lost their original families, but found their place with a new family.…

    • 1173 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    They had four children, one whom died as an infant. Mary Rowlandson lived the life of a typical mother and minister’s wife. They made their home on a hill overlooking Ropers Brook. With the expectation that the Indians may attack Joseph Rowlandson went to Boston to ask for help from the Massachusetts…

    • 1485 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Their stories are told through the eyes of women such as Molly Brant, who was born a Mohawk Indian and later married the White Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the British (pg 110). Her life straddled the two worlds of the British Colonialist and that of the Native Americans. Because of her connection with White culture, more artifacts about her survive. Another Native American source for Berkin was Mary Jeminson, a White woman who was kidnapped as a youth and lived her life a Seneca woman. Her story illustrates the Native Americans’ fear that the new American nation would continue to encroach on not only their land, but their very way of life.…

    • 1359 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    She had but scant time and short breath; with that she cursed your race, and blessed you, Hope Leslie” (Heath 2576). Hope’s risky move in freeing Nelema was an liberating one that Sedgwick includes to show Hope’s strong characteristics. In regards to Hope’s sister, Faith, Magawisca says she is married to Oneco, Magawisca’s brother. Another new Sedgwick concept, the marriage is a parallel to the one in Pocahontas, but it is reversed as a white woman is assimilating into Native American culture rather than the other way around. Though Hope is appauled by the marriage, as any white Puritans probably would have been at that time, she is reassured by Magawisca that Faith is happy, loved and safe, and promises to arrange a meeting for the two sisters to reunite.…

    • 1183 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Jemison was not allowed to speak English and was relentlessly taught the Indian language which she learned to speak fluently. Jemison recounts being thankful for have fallen into the hands of her sisters because of how good they treated her and for that she had the utmost respect for them. Jemison goes on to express that the only thing that spoiled her happiness was her memories of her loving parents and home she once knew and if she was taken as an infant she would have been content with her situation. The Film The searcher was not as detailed as Jemison narrative but when Debbie was found in the film she had fully conformed to the Indian culture. Debbie fluently spoke the native language, dressed like them and seemed to be happy living with…

    • 801 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays