The reason that the recurring theme of our literature thus far has been of “mass killing, pillaging, and conquest of indigenous peoples,” is because this is the history of our nation. Albeit, not the one the education system wants us to know, but our history nonetheless. Surely, it causes some to react—the way literature does—as it creates this uncomfortable verbal battlefield with justifications for genocides and heavy worded disagreements against it. However, this is essential for educating one another; I look at Mary Rowlandson’s didactic narrative as a way to educate those unable to sympathize for the indigenous people (choosing to ignore the clearly overarching racist tones).
Perhaps through Mary’s narration of her captivity, the people unable to relate to the mass murdering of the indigenous populace, can finally accept the disgusting truth (or sentiment at least) of this nation’s past. By writing about her captivity, she gives insight to the horrors and savagery of the events occurring in a genocide. It’s through her that the caucasian (with eurocentric tendencies) can relate to; one person, that is, that they can envision through the first-person narrative, the true terror of an invasion. One person’s viewpoint (first-person) vs. a mass populace viewpoint (those wiped out due to colonialism: voiceless). Sounding familiar? Mary serves as the “pleasant familiar face” in this text, in the same way that Hollywood uses a white familiar, friendly face. The message is being conveyed still, that genocide is bad, but how would an elitist, white-european feel when watching a screen above them filled with indigenous people? Nothing appeals to them, at least in the simplest sense of familiarity.
–Just an empty thought on how Mary’s narrative compares to cinema, I’ll return to it on Friday–
Daniel Lizaola Loepz