Mary Was The Little Lamb

Throughout her narrative, Mary Rowlandson is faced with captivity, poor meals, and the multiple losses of loved family, friends, and her home. However, in her words, Mary did not seem to hate these “savages” as much as she claimed.

As mentioned before in Monday’s class, Mary uses an abundance of words that were more familiar with the indigenous people over the Englishmen. Such words include “squaw”, “sannup”, and “papoose”. By using these words, Mary shows the familiarity that she had grown when being held captive by the natives. She also mentions the abundance of kindness shown to her; however, she does not say this outright in the text. Instead, she mentions the actions directed towards her, mostly from older natives or squaws, as well as King Philip himself as he paid Mary in exchange for handcrafted clothes (The Eighth Remove), and gives her food and water for a bath (The Nineteenth Remove). There is obviously a strong connection for King Philip, as shown in the final Remove, when Philip was the only native who voted against sending Mary back to her husband. This action shows the growth between Mary, and English woman, and King Philip, an indigenous man. In some ways, this complicates the history of intolerance against indigenous people, because we see a strong sense of communication between Mary and the natives, despite her not wanting to admit it.

Although there was tension between her and some of the people, a majority of the time, it seemed as though Mary was never truly in danger, and always had someone there to support her, even though it wasn’t the support that she desperately wanted, which was the support and aid from a fellow Christian like herself. In the text, Mary if given a place to stay warm, food to fill her belly, and gets paid for her services. In a way, it seems as though Mary had slowly become a part of this indigenous group. While she was still considered an outsider and a slave to her mistress and master, Mary had been able to successfully combine herself into this lifestyle without too much hassle, which follows up with the claim that her interactions between the indigenous peoples and herself complicates history a bit, which shows the strong distaste between the groups. Mary does indeed voice her ideas of the natives to her audience; however, her actions go against her words, which makes me assume that Mary herself was unsure on how to proceed with the emotions that rose up for these people. I believe that she used God as her pawn, as a way to escape scrutiny from her fellow Englishmen by saying “It was God who lifted my spirits”, when in reality, Mary was fearful to show that she had grown somewhat attached to these indigenous people. Not attached in the way you may think, mind you, but in a way that may have Mary thinking back to a point in time with King Philip or one of the many natives that helped her when she needed it.

-Jody Omlin

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