A Pattern of Genocide

Rowlandson’s narrative brings to light a very important perspective from the eyes of a person who is complacent with genocide. This narrative is filled with justifications for the savage treatment of Native Americans. Genocide is a human error that has been made countless times. We see examples of this all over the world from the Greek, Armenian, and soviet genocide to the Cambodian and Guatemalan genocide. The pattern of behavior which allows for genocide to happen is displayed in Rowlandson’s narrative. It perfectly displays the eight stages of genocide. The first stage is classification, humans are divided into “us” and “them”. In Rowlandson’s narrative we see this….. The second stage is symbolization, when names or other symbols are used to refer to “them”. In Rowlandson’s narrative we see this when she refers to the native people as “……”. The third stage is dehumanization, members are equated to vermin or animals. In this example the native people are referred to as demons. The next stage is organization, plans and armies are assembled. Rowlandson’s husband, although well intentioned, was apart of the organized effort to silence the indigenous people. Polarization is the next step, groups are completely divided. We can see this when……Extermination is the seventh and most heinous step. The full extent of the American genocide is not portrayed in this narrative but as informed readers we know that millions of native people were killed by disease and violence. The eighth step is denial. Rowlandson is in denial when she justifies her capture as a test from god and not a desperate act of war. She chooses to use another reason other than the one which is clearly presented to her because admitting that you are apart of the systematic slaying of people is pretty hard to come to terms with.

 

-Maya Gonzales

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