|Definitions||According to Richard Slotkin, "In [a captivity narrative] a single individual, usually a woman, stands passively under the strokes of evil, awaiting rescue by the grace of God. The sufferer represents the whole, chastened body of Puritan society; and the temporary bondage of the captive to the Indian is dual paradigm-- of the bondage of the soul to the flesh and the temptations arising from original sin, and of the self-exile of the English Israel from England. In the Indian's devilish clutches, the captive had to meet and reject the temptation of Indian marriage and/or the Indian's "cannibal" Eucharist. To partake of the Indian's love or of his equivalent of bread and wine was to debase, to un-English the very soul. The captive's ultimate redemption by the grace of Christ and the efforts of the Puritan magistrates is likened to the regeneration of the soul in conversion. The ordeal is at once threatful of pain and evil and promising of ultimate salvation. Through the captive's proxy, the promise of a similar salvation could be offered to the faithful among the reading public, while the captive's torments remained to harrow the hearts of those not yet awakened to their fallen nature" (Regeneration Through Violence)|
Cotton Mather, Humiliations Follow'd with Deliverances (1697): Hannah Swarton's and Hannah Dustan's narratives preached then.
Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, Together, with the Faithfulness of his Promises Displayed Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1682) (Page images of the 1811 edition at canadiana.org)
Jesuit Relations 1632-73, yearly installments.
John Williams, The Redeemed Captive (1704);
see also John Demos's contemporary work on the Deerfield captivities,
b. French: Indians as souls needing redemption
c. English in Virginia: innocent exotics
d. Puritans: Satanic threat to religious utopia
a. Myth of Love in the Woods (Pocahontas and John Smith)
Return (escape, release, or redemption)
Rowlandson was born circa 1637-1638 in England. With her parents
John and Joan White, she sailed for Salem in 1639. Joseph Rowlandson
became a minister in 1654 and two years later he and Mary were married.
They had a child, Mary, who lived for three years; their other children
were Joseph, b. 1661; Mary, b. 1665; Sarah, b. 1669. At the time of their
capture, the children were 14, 10, and 6.
In 1675 Joseph Rowlandson. went to Boston to beg for help from the Massachusetts General Assembly, during which period Mary Rowlandson was captured. After her redemption, the couple lived in Boston and then moved 1677 to Wethersfield, Connecticut. Joseph Rowlandson died 24 November 1678 after preaching a powerful fast-day jeremiad. Mary Rowlandson remarried 6 Aug 1679 to Captain Samuel Talcott. He died in 1691; she lived until 1710. Disgrace later came to the family: her son Joseph got his brother-in-law drunk and sold him into servitude in Virginia.
While a prisoner, Mary Rowlandson travelled some 150 miles, from Lancaster to Menamaset then north to Northfield and across the Connecticut river to meet with King Philip/Metacomet himself, sachem of the Wampanoags. Next she traveled up into southwestern New Hampshire, south to Menamaset, and north to Mount Wachusett.
According to Kathryn Derounian-Stodola, "Introducing her work in all four 1682 editions was an anonymous preface to the reader, signed only 'per Amicum' (By a Friend), but almost certainly written by Increase Mather. In 1681, Mather had proposed to a group of Puritan ministers that they collect stories of 'special providences' concerning New England to be evaluated, sorted, and eventually anthologized. Quite probably Rowlandson's narrative was among the providential accounts he received, but owing to its length, local currency, and intrinsic worth, he may have suggested separate publication and agreed to help. . ."
© 1997-2013. Donna M. Campbell.
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Campbell, Donna M. "Early American Captivity Narratives." Literary Movements. Dept. of English, Washington State University. Date of publication or most recent update (listed above as the "last modified" date; you don't need to indicate the time). Web. Date you accessed the page.