In Mary Rowlandson's narrative, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, locate three passages that seem to vary or conflict in portraying her view of her captors.

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Mary Rowlandson wrote The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, of how she and others were captured by Native Americans, "murderous wretches," after a raid on the British settlers in 1675 . It was written some years after her ordeal and what she writes is possibly, in terms of some critics, not an accurate account of the eleven weeks she was held. Being a woman, it is also possible that it was adapted in order to ensure a more "appropriate" rendition of events.

Due to her unfailing faith in God, Mary has been able to survive, despite the despair at the death of her child and the hardships of her other children. She has steadfastly reported on the barbaric acts of her captors, even as her child lay dying but, as she recount the "Eighth Remove," and after feeling her spirits lifted by a visit from her son, she is overcome with grief, especially as they travel away from civilization as she knows it. Uncharacteristically, the Indians are moved by her tears and try to reassure her, even bringing her "two spoonfuls of meal." Even King Philip himself invites her to smoke with him - an unusual honor which she refuses. After making items of clothing, Mary's captors reward her and she even invites her "master and mistress" to eat with her, clearly a contradictory action in terms of her previous relationship with them. It is likely that this would have meant more to Mary than to her captors who do not eat with her anyway.    

In the Ninth Remove, Mary goes to visit her son but gets lost. Despite her previous wariness of her captors, she does not however fear for her life as " not one of them offered the least imaginable miscarriage to me." Upon speaking with her son. Mary is not really encouraged, only bemoaning their situations and afterwards she is again distraught at the thought of her children and turns to her Bible for the words to sustain her. Mary then recounts how, a squaw who "showed herself very kind to me," boils a piece of bear she had given Mary previously. Mary is surprised that she actually enjoys it. She then finds another wigwam with equally welcoming squaws and, even though she is a stranger to them, they indicate that they would buy her given the opportunity. 

Encouraged by this friendliness, in the Tenth Remove, Mary goes back to the same people but she is cruelly kicked and so returns "home" but they refuse to share their venison with her, despite her hunger. She remarks that "Sometimes I met with favor, and sometimes with nothing but frowns." So the confusion will continue as in the Twelfth Remove, Mary, travelling in a direction that will take her closer to home, wonders whether she can be sold back to her own husband and begins to consider her master as "the best friend that I had of an Indian, both in cold and hunger." Mary's growing respect for her master is indicative of a captive trying to make the best of the situation. The feelings of being alone cause Mary to think that a friendship exists that does not.  

Mary has to travel some way back with her mistress who refuses to proceed and, with her master absent, she is asked to leave the wigwam and find shelter elsewhere. She eventually finds shelter. When they move on, Mary looks for sympathy as the load she carries is very heavy but it is pointed out to her that no one cares and would not care "if my head were off too." Mary mistakes small acts of kindness for genuine acts of friendship so is consistently surprised when her captors are not consistent in their kindness.

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The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

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