Essay on Rowlandson’s Narrative

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Mary White’s family was among the original settlers of Lancaster, Massachusetts, arriving in 1653. In 1656 Mary White married Joseph Rowlandson, Lancaster's first minister. In 1675, the King Philip’s War began subjecting settlements to attack by Indians. On February 20, 1676, Indians abducted Mary Rowlandson during an attack on Lancaster. She was held captive for eleven weeks finally being ransomed for twenty pounds. After Rowlandson’s return, she recorded the account of her captivity as a narrative. Rowlandson’s narrative was published in 1682 under the title of The Soveraignty and Goodness of GOD, Together, With the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed and was republished that same year as A True History of the Captivity & …show more content…
While these issues were important components of conflict between the colonists and the Indians, the dominant factor leading to the King Philips War was the colonists’ ongoing need for territory and expansion. Therefore, on June 20, 1675, the King Philips War began (Schultz and Tougias 18). Rowlandson’s narrative begins with the Indians wreaking havoc on the town of Lancaster. For example, her second line sets a foreboding tone for the rest of her narrative by describing a brutal attack on a helpless family: “There were five persons taken in one house; the father, and the mother and a sucking child, they knocked on the head; the other two they took and carried away alive” (309). By individually identifying who was murdered and abducted, Rowlandson demonstrates how no colonist is safe from the wrath of the Indian. As the narrative continues, Rowlandson provides several descriptions of the Indians committing vile murders against her fellow colonists as a means to negatively characterize them. Moreover, the structural framework of the first paragraph is significant because according to Pattie Cowell in her book The Indian Captivity Narrative 1550-1900, “Almost invariably the early narratives open in medias res, so readers can vicariously experience the individuals own terror and surprise” (100). To substantiate Rowlandson’s intention that the Indians are ruthless savages, she employs a personal anecdote to demonstrate how the Indians are

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