Mary Rowlandson gives a detailed account of various issues that took place in America in the past before and during the occupation of America by the English and other settlers from Europe. Rowlandson’s account focuses on issues such as captivity, the views of Native Americans on politics, religion and social well-being. She also gives an account on religion and its role in challenging situations. Rowlandson’s account can be compared to other related issues to establish similarities and differences that come out. This can help establish Rowlandson’s objective of writing the account on these sensitive issues that affected America at the time and still do today.
The role of religion in hard times is portrayed by Rowlandson in her account. She explains every difficult situation she goes through as one where she heavily relied on God as her protector and provider. This account is similar to many other accounts given by authors and believers of many religions such as Christians and all the other religions. The difficult moments are viewed as times when one cannot go through without faith. The similarity is that the author demonstrates her faith to God for the grace she has even in captivity. For example, in the 14th remove, the author is writes, “I would tell the world what a blessing the Lord gave to such mean food.” The author shows that she believes it is a higher power that grants her the little food that she has even in captivity.
Throughout the account, the author also demonstrates that she believes in God through the various quotes from the bible. The author relates every experience she goes through with those experienced by bible characters and shows her belief that all the hardships will be prevailed upon because God will be helping them. This account is similar to the one given by many Christians. Christians go to church to get spiritual nourishment, as well as, encouragement on how they should not fear to face difficulties because God is with them.
However, there is a difference in the role of religion between Rowlandson’s account and that used by many Christians today. In every situation, the author quotes the bible and justifies the tough situation and how religion can provide a way out. However, Christians today have a slightly different perspective. Even though they trust in God and pray for help whenever they face difficult situations, they put in a lot of effort to solve the difficult situation. The author seems to be relying on religion to provide solutions for the hard situations. For instance, in the 16th remove, Rowlandson believes that the kind reception they received from the Indians was as a result of religion. There is a comparison between the incidents in 1 Samuel 14: 29 where the tasting of honey enlightens the eyes and spirit and the incident where the author takes hot water and soup then her spirit comes to life again. This is a big disparity between the author’s account and that given by Christians today.
The captivity narrative given by the author on how the Indians held their captives is quite similar to the one given by historical books. In the 18th remove, the author describes how the four English children, who were captives to be fine but the conditions they were in, were not good. Furthermore, it is evident that the white person they saw naked and dead was killed by the Indians. The Indians could not allow the author to spend time with her niece because she was a captive. This demonstrates the cruel and mean character displayed by the local Indians towards Englishmen. Still in the 18th remove, the author describes how she was told by the Indians how disgraceful she was for begging too much. She even got a warning from the masters that she would be knocked if she begged again. This is a similar account to the one given in most historical books about how the Indians resisted the presence of Englishmen by capturing them and even killing them. The Indians would make the environment inhospitable for English people to live.
However, there is a disparity between the authors account and that of other historical books. The Indians were at times friendly and kind to Englishmen. Historical records account that Indians never accepted any English visitors. The 17th remove demonstrates the contrary. The author narrates how the Indians were good hosts. They provided the author with horse meat, water and gave them coal and ruff to light a fire. The difference in accounts demonstrates how other historical records were biased against the native Indians. Indians were simply resisting the English invasion on their land. That is why they resorted to capturing and killing Europeans. It was all in self-defense rather than plain resistance. They were also kind and helpful. This is contrary to the story of Mary Jemison, who accounts that says, “..On April 5, 1758, a raiding party composed of Shawnee Native Americans and French allies raided the family farm. I was the only member of the family who survived the attack, and I was taken captive by the raiding party (Jemison).” Jemison claims she was given to a Seneca to replace their lost family member. She portrays the Indians as cruel and heartless.
Therefore, the captivity narrative of Mary Rowlandson gives a detailed account of how religion was used in during difficult moments. It also demonstrates how captivity was in those days when Indians would capture English people and give them to Indian families to replace their relatives who had been lost through war or captivity to Englishmen. There are similarities and contrasts between the Rowlandson account and other accounts based on the use of religion in hard times and captivity narratives.
Rowlandson, Mary. NARRATIVE OF THE CAPTIVITY AND RESTORATION OF MRS. MARY ROWLANDSON. 3 November 2009. 22 February 2013