Of all our reading selections, Mary Rowlandson's experiences are among the most harrowing and well articulated. She uses a distinct pattern of labeling and imagery to paint a picture of the massacre of the Indians and its aftermath. Identify some of the more vivid passages and summarize the biblical slant that characterizes the Indians and their actions.

You could argue the vivid massacre and the biblical slant reinforce Mary Rowlandson’s binary that she’s a good, devout Christian while the Indigenous people are bad, demonic brutes. If you look at the biblical passages, you might notice how Rowlandson casts her captors as the “enemy.” You might also notice how Rowlandson likens herself to the faithful, long-suffering Christian who, in the end, is saved.

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As your question already notes, Mary Rowlandson includes an array of biblical references in her captivity narrative. In the vivid massacre scene, Rowlandson writes that the assorted mothers and children in the house cried out, “Lord, what shall we do?” The Lord seems to be a source of comfort for...

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As your question already notes, Mary Rowlandson includes an array of biblical references in her captivity narrative. In the vivid massacre scene, Rowlandson writes that the assorted mothers and children in the house cried out, “Lord, what shall we do?” The Lord seems to be a source of comfort for Rowlandson and the people she’s with. Amidst the chaos, destruction, and violence, you could claim Christianity and the Bible act as stabilizing sources. They provide a clear way to think about what’s happening to them.

Rownlandson appears to credit her survival not to chance but to an act of God. As Rowlandson says, “[Ye]t the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty-four of us taken alive and carried captive.”

During the scene, she likens herself to Job. In other scenes, too, Rowlandson links her afflictions to those experienced by Job. It’s almost as if the Bible becomes a way for Rowlandson to deal with her traumatic displacement and upheaval. By positioning her story within the framework of the Bible, it’s like it’s not happening to her but to someone else—a biblical character. You could say she’s disassociating to deal with the pain.

Regarding the Indigenous people specifically, Rowlandson frames them as the enemy. Her biblical quotes reinforce her perception. You might want to look into parts when Rowlandson cites Bible scripture about surviving “the land of the enemy.”

When the Indigenous people first come, she describes them as “black creatures” who comfort themselves in a “hellish manner.” Again, you could argue such a description props up the belief that Indigenous people were demonic, savage, satanic creatures. Rowlandson’s “biblical slant,” to use wording from your question, doubles down on the good versus evil binary. In her story, Rowlandson is on the good side of God and Christianity, while the Indigenous people are on the bad side of barbarism and pagan worship.

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