She Said, I Said, They Said, We Said

It is a sad truth that our nation was primarily built on mass killings of indigenous people, but unfortunately it is a part of our dark history. There is no way to justify someone’s death, even if they are the worst of the worst. Killing another person isn’t okay. As Mary Rowlandson shares her experiences with us in her narrative. I can’t help but think about reader response. How as readers will we respond, how should we respond, or do we respond?  As a reader I have seen how horrible Rowlandson describes her children’s sufferings, as an aunt i can sympathize on the poor innocent life. As expert readers we are taught to look at all the fine details of writing, to try and connect certain pieces together. What we have connected, as previously stated in class is Rowlandson’s life was most likely a typical say at home mother, who was obedient to her husband. We cannot automatically assume Mary was a cold heartless woman, but have we thought about maybe her writings being monitored by her husband? Did she write it to only trigger a certain audience? or was it truly her feelings? We don’t know, and I am not trying to justify her wicked words, just trying to see a different perspective.

In the end we put the blame on “she said, I said, they said, and we said”. All these different perspectives are trying to justify the death, but in the end we need to learn to acknowledge all the death that has happened throughout our history. The Indians, people of color, the racial segregation and tension. What is constantly possessing people to think it is okay to just go and murder, I don’t think we will ever be able to fully answer this question, but in the end we may only receive more questions than answers.

-Viviana Ojeda


5 thoughts on “She Said, I Said, They Said, We Said

  1. I agree, though it was hard at first, to change my understanding of her work. I suppose I was thinking with my current state of thinking/believing, versus what I should do which was to see what she was really dealing with in her life as a whole, her role as a woman, mother, and wife. In addition, one must indeed have some sort of empathy for her suffering, at the least. And like you said, there are too many unanswered questions.
    At the same time, I know that there were people at that time who despite all conflict and danger, championed for a grouped set of people, particularly the marginalized, and oppressed people. In a more hopeful circumstance, I would have wished for some sense of realization, an epiphany, after the fact. Especially, since the era was that of “enlightment.”
    But then that brings the whole definition of that word to a whole new argument.
    Thank you for sharing this perspective.

    Maricela (Marcy) Martinez


  2. I can agree with your point of “There is no way to justify someone’s death, even if they are the worst of the worst” but how would you explain this to someone who has fought in a war and now suffers from PTSD? Or any soldier who may feel happy to serve our country but still feels uneasy about killing during war. Is it then justified since they were protecting our country? Some soldiers are also religious but how can they justify such killings when they can be affected by it, yet did it to protect you and I. Mary Rowlandson stated IN THE LAST paragraph “we must rely on God Himself, and our whole dependance must be upon Him”. Your opinion does make sense to me but I am just curious as to how that can be different when it comes to a war scenario because it differs from a genocide.


  3. I found this post to be interesting because it suggests the possibility of not responding to Mary’s story. What are the implications as a 21st century reader who chooses to overlook this narrative? Is it our responsibility to respond to this narrative? Also,I feel that the way she describes the natives is a little more telling to the fact that she believes in these racist ideologies. I mean we can’t say for certain if she was being monitored or not, but we do know these are her words, her narrative and we just have to take that at face value.


  4. The reader response critical approach to Rowlandson’s captivity narrative is interesting although your point about “We cannot automatically assume Mary was a cold heartless woman, but have we thought about maybe her writings being monitored by her husband?” is a little undermined by her intense feeling of despair towards her baby, when she “sat much alone with a poor wounded child in [her] lap, which moaned night and day, having nothing to revive the body…” A mother wouldn’t simply make up a story of how she lost her baby, the description of her sorrow is too realistic to be conjured in order to push the narrative of “savage Natives.” Likewise, the same “realness” I describe can be an example of successful pathos within the text that would reinforce your argument. Even so, the question of heresay is still valid.


  5. What makes Rowlandson’s narrative complexed is that we are dealt with a heartbreaking situation, a mother and child being held captive and eventually her child dying, that makes an audience, such as myself, wonder who would be the good and evil in the story. Her rhetoric is also what puts me off from having sympathy for Mary since her use of religion to dictate who is evil in her narrative and to justify her opinion makes me visualize an entitled colonist’s wife. She says, “I can but stand in admiration to see the wonderful power of God in providing for such a vast number of our enemies in the wilderness, where there was nothing to be seen, but from hand to mouth…But now our perverse and evil carriages in the sight of the Lord, have so offended Him, that instead of turning His hand against them, the Lord feeds and nourishes them up to be a scourge to the whole land”. She provides a diction that everyone should feel the same way she does because that’s what the Lord would have thought, eventhough we don’t know what the Lord would say; or if he even exists.

    -Kristy Frausto


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