The Ransom Of Mercy Carter Analysis

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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

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