In the process of developing the New World at a time when the land was untouched, a distinct hatred between the native Indians and the new colonists was very apparent. You will begin to understand the Hatred when you read the essay: A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, written by Mary Rowlandson in 1682. Even though the Indians captured Mary Rowlandson, she was still able to survive by believing her faith in God and was eventually safely returned to her colony. She expresses to the reader her religious messages and how she turns to God for safety and strength. The reader can see how her Puritan beliefs are of the strong New England Puritans way of life. Rowlandson used a theme that was very simple to understand when she explained her capture and the return by the Indians. It was a strange and amazing dispensation that the Lord should so afflict his precious servant (Rowlandson p.22). For eleven weeks she struggled to find an answer to why she was captured and tormented. She begged for the mercy of God not to be free but to have strength to travel each day. She was the wife of Reverend Joseph Rowlandson and a mother and a very religious person before she was captured by the Indians. Even though she was put through hellish conditions God was her right hand man. When the Indians burned the town and made way to Rowlandson's house she turned to God for an answer. Her house was set on fire forcing her and her children to come out and face the barbarous creatures. She explained that she had often before said, that if the Indians should come, I would choose to be killed by them rather than be taken alive, but when the time came she changed her mind (Rowlandson p.28). As she came out of her house and a bullet struck her in her side and she was then captured. She seems to lose all hope when she was taken, but there was one spark still left inside her weak and frail body. That single spark was her belief in God and his miracles. In all her times of despair and hardship she turned to prayer and deliverance from God. She explains in her essay that it was not her tongue or pen that can express the sorrows of her heart and bitterness in her spirit that she had at that departure: but God was with her in a wonderful manner, carrying her along the way, and raising up her Spirit (Rawlandson p.30). With the pain in her side and the death of her child she still managed to migrate with the Indians and relying of God for strength. But the Lord renewed my strength more, and carried me along, that I might see more of his power, yea, so much that I could never have thought of it had I not experienced it (Rowlandson p.30).
In the third remove she is given a key, a book that is the answer to all her troubles, the Bible. This presented to Rowlandson was a light that if used and worshiped could save her soul. As the Indians moved she moved with them, no matter where they went it always lead to hell for her. She had no friends or anyone to talk too, all she had was the Bible for prayer and deliverance to keep her sane. With her head light and dizzy she began to read stating: I cannot express to man the affliction the lay upon my Spirit; but the Lord helped me than to express it to himself. I opened my Bible to read and the Lord brought that precious Scripture to me (Rowlandson p.35). Thus saith the Lord, refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy (Jer. Xxxi. 16). Rowlandson continued not knowing of the future but only of memories she had experienced.
To compare Rowlandson and the Puritans, they both had the same ideas and beliefs, but does Rowlandson show them. The New England Puritans believed that if the Indians did not convert to Christianity then they should not be interacted with. On the other hand, Rowlandson had to interact with the Indians. She did not try to convert the Indians but she did pray and read the Bible in front of them. As far as Rowlandson having Puritan beliefs and acting as a true Puritan, the Puritan society would have considered her to be just a bad as Indians. And I cannot but admire at the wonderful power and goodness of God to me, in that though I was gone from home, and met with all sorts of Indians, and those I had no knowledge of, and there being no Christian Soul near me; yet not one of them offered the least imaginable miscarriage to me (Rowlandson p. 42). I believe the values of Rowlandson's and the Puritans are still the same, Rowlandson just has to use and stress hers because of the Indians and her captivity.
One knows that Rowlandson was captured for eleven weeks. Within those weeks she was put through Hell and back. She endured death, pain and suffering by the Indians. She formed opinions of them and how she personally viewed them. This was the dole fullest night that ever my eyes saw: oh the roaring, and singing, and dancing and yelling of those black creatures in the night, which made the place a lively resemblance of hell (Rowlandson p. 29). She viewed them as black creatures who have forced her to endure a living hell. Through her Puritan way she also refers to the Indians as heathens and hell hound because they do not turn to God for a pure way of life. Towards the end of the ninth removal she encounters some Indians that were different that the black creatures she was used to. And yet these were strangers to me that I never knew before (Rowlandson p. 43). These strangers were nice Indians that offered food and warmth from the winter air. These Indians changed Rowlandson's idea that Indians can be nice and not all the time hell hounds.
Rowlandson's treatment was the worst that many should endure. She spent all day walking and carrying articles while the Indians rode horseback. Rowlandson was forced to weave for the Indians and give her clothing up for the comfort of the Indians. My head also was so light, that I usually reeled as I went, but I hope all those wearisome steps that I have taken are but a forwarding of me to the Heavenly rest (Rowlandson p. 43). Near the end of her eleven weeks of captivity Rowlandson wanted nothing more but to give up and let the Lord take her away. The Indians stood laughing to see me staggering along; but in my distress the Lord gave me experience of the truth and goodness of that promise (Rowlandson p. 51). Finally, after eleven long weeks of death, pain and suffering, the Indians gave heart. They leaded her near Boston where she would find some English men that helped reunites her husband to his long lost wife.
If, in turn, her captors had a chance to write down their part of the story, they would probably tell us they saved Mary Rowlandson's life, and treated her very well.
- Rowlandson, Mary. 1682, Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.