I would like a brief summary of chapter 9 from Of Plymouth Plantation. I read it, but I just don't understand the whole jist of it.

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bradford begins the chapter by referring to the resolution of some "troubles"—what happened is that the boat the Separatists had set out from England on, the Speedwell, had developed leaks, so it returned to port and all the passengers transferred to the Mayflower, which had been a companion cargo ship.  It was quickly and incompletely refitted to carry passengers, and it was a tight and uncomfortable fit for the people on board.

The Mayflower set out for the American colonies in early September, which was later than anticipated.  The winds were strong at first, and they made good progress, though some fell ill with seasickness.

A young sailor was unsympathetic to the sick passengers and said very unkind things about them—such as that if they died, he would be pleased to throw their bodies overboard and enjoy their belongings.  When the Separatists tried to gently reprove him for his remarks, he would curse them.  Ultimately, he became sick himself, died, and was thrown overboard.   Bradford writes that the Separatists believed that God had punished the sailor for mistreating them: divine retribution.

The Mayflower began to develop serious structural problems in the wind and weather and had to be repaired with a large iron screw through the main beam.  Moreover, some leaks had to be caulked. There was disagreement about what course of action to take, but the consensus was that they should proceed as carefully as possible and make for the colonies.

A man named John Howland was swept overboard but managed to catch a line. After being dragged underwater, he was pulled back into the ship. The Separatists considered it proof of God's will that he lived—and only fitting that he went on to become a "profitable" member of the church and commonwealth.

There was only one casualty on the voyage; it was a young servant named William Butten. 

The Mayflower could not find a safe place to dock and had to cruise up and down Cape Cod before first tying up at Provincetown. The Separatists disembarked and thanked God for their safe passage, giving themselves no credit for their perseverance.

Bradford writes of the first encounter with Native Americans; he calls them "savage barbarians" ready to do them harm, but he also hints that later he will write of the great kindnesses the Native Americans offered that literally saved their lives.

Bradford finishes the chapter by drawing a biblical parallel to the conditions the Separatists faced and mentions their assurance that God would protect and provide for them because their journey was His will.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the beginning of the chapter it reports of a young man who was giving everyone else aboard the ship a tough time. People struggled with sea-sickness and other ailments during their long journey and everyone just got sick of him. Well, he grew a disease of his own and died, thus he had to be thrown overboard and the people trusted that the Lord allowed that to happen on purpose. He received justice.

Bradford discusses another condition of the ship as it had endured some difficulties in strong crosswinds. This meant necessary repairs and the crew and carpenters consulted each other and made necessary repairs. He reports of one man falling over but catching a piece of the boat so that he could crawl back on. Throughout the rest of the voyage that time only one servant died.

They took this boat up to the coast, saw Cape Cod and rode up the Hudson River looking for a good place to dock. Since people as they knew them didn't inhabit the land, there wasn't a dock per se. When they did finally land all they found was "savages with arrows." It was winter when they landed and they struggled through that first one for they were not used to the storms that raged on them in this new land. All they had left was their God to lean on after all of these struggles.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 9, Bradford begins narrating the events that take place after September 6, 1620, when the Pilgrims and the crew of the Mayflower set sail on one boat towards the New World. An arrogant sailor laughs at the people who are sick on board the ship and taunts them with the possibility that they will be thrown overboard after dying, but he then takes sick and dies and is the first person tossed overboard. 

Bradford talks about the storms that the ship encounters and relates the story of John Howland, who is tossed overboard but survives by catching hold of the topsail halyards. Howland goes on to be an important member of the Pilgrim community in Cape Cod. One of the passengers dies en route. The ship then reaches Cape Cod. The Pilgrims want to push on to the Hudson River, but they encounter breakers and return to the Cape. Upon landing, they thank God, and Bradford relates how lonely they feel upon encountering a land where they knew no one and it was winter. They face what Bradford describes as a great wilderness, and their only consolation is their faith that God will help them. 

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