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"A Narrative of the Captivity"
Transcript of "A Narrative of the Captivity"
Mary Rowlandson was born in England. After marrying, she moved to Salem in the Massachusetts Bay colony. She eventually moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she was captured, along with her three children, and held captive in King Philip's War. After her ransom was paid, she returned to the colonies, where she was reunited with her family. Rowlandson wrote a recount of her journey and captivity, and how her Puritan religion affected her outlook on it.
Literary Elements & Text
Defining a Captivity Narrative
How does the narrator’s religious faith influence her perspective? Explain.
Briefly describe what happens to each of Rowlandson’s children in the course of the selection.
Lucas Adel, Abby Blake, Gabi Case, Carly Byrd
"A Narrative of the Captivity"
What would it be like to be
held captive by native people? How do you think you would be treated?
Outline of the Lesson
Biographical information on the author, Mary Rowlandson
Historical context including: -America before the arrival of Europeans -Indian/European interaction -the Puritan faith
Discuss literary elements
Define a captivity narrative
Comprehension questions to ensure understanding of the story
America was described as a garden full of diversity in peoples, languages, and habitats before the arrival of Europeans.
It is estimated that when the first Europeans arrived in 1492 there were 15 to 20 million Native Americans living in the land.
There were many different tribes that spoke different languages and lived variously based on their surrounding environment, many of which were concentrated in Central and South America
Migrations to America started occurring quickly after its discovery by Columbus in 1492.
Europeans learned many different farming techniques and also gained new crops from the Native Americans.
King Philip's War arose when many tribes of southern New England attempted to drive out the English settlers. It resulted in an English victory, the beheading of Pokunoket chief Metacom (King Philip), and the enslavement and murder of many Native Americans
Many Europeans moved to America in search of religious freedom.
The Puritan faith emphasized that everything that happened to them was either a blessing from God or something He had placed in their path to learn from.
Plot: Mary Rowlandson is held captive and moved from one Native American location to another
Setting: along the Ware River near Braintree, Massachusetts; Ashuelot Valley, New Hampshire
Perspective: first person limited
Diction: formal, composed
Syntax: formal, emotional
Literary Devices: many biblical allusions
"Although I had met with so much affliction, and my heart was many times ready to break, yet could I not shed one tear in their sight: but rather had been all this while in a maze, and like one astonished: But now I may say as Psalm 137:1, "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down: yea, we wept when re remembered Zion." (67)
The young daughter, Sarah, dies at age 6 from little nourishment and care after being wounded during her capture. Mary Rowlandson's daughter, Mary, was at the same Indian town, but she was not allowed to see her. Mary's son came to see her as he was located six miles away amongst a small parcel of Indians. During the move to Ashuelot Valley, Mary receives a knife after making two shirts for a Native American man. At Ashuelot Valley, Mary finds kind Native Americans who feed her and take care of her and eventually buy her.
Uncertainty of life
-Rowlandson learns that no one can be guaranteed in survival or life. Anything or anyone can disappear at any given moment.
Faith in God's will
-Mary Rowlandson keeps her faith throughout her captivity and believes that everything that occurs is either a blessing or the doing of God.
Her strong Puritan faith helps her to make sense of her situation and stay strong.
Savagery vs. civilization
-Throughout the story, Rowlandson realizes what she and other settlers believed to be Native American savagery is actually a different form of civilization. At the end, she begins to understand their society and their ways
A captivity narrative is a dramatic story in which the narrator is held captive by a group of people. Many captivity narratives were written by female protagonists and were written from a religious view point. Often captives wrote them to uphold their religious purity and redeem themselves in society after returning.