What to Expect

The answer to the question, “Do moments of cross-cultural, cross-linguistic, and cross-religious exchange between Rowlandson and her native Algonquian captors confirm, contradict, or complicate the history of intolerance against indigenous people during the English colonization of eastern North America?” is very complicated. If someone were to read this with no background knowledge, the answer to that question would be it contradicts the history because the Algonquians are very nasty to their prisoners a lot of the time. However, with the background knowledge that it was Rowlandson’s people who started the war with the Algonquians, it then confirms the history. In the story the Indians kill her children, throw her bible, and say nasty things to her. Although, not every Indian she encounters treats her like dirt. When considering this question, we must not forget that her people are the ones that slaughtered the Indians first. Now they are angry and seeking revenge, so it is understandable why they treat her the way they do. We see this as well in Dryden’s play when the Indians are minding their own business and suddenly these people show up and tell them they must bow to a king they have never met. They do not just roll over to it in that play either. In Rowland’s piece, she is also very hostile to the Indigenous people because they killed her people, and I doubt the narrator is aware that her people started the war she is now prisoner of. In conclusion, I think the answer to the question is that it complicates the history of intolerance because in every war there comes a point where you are no longer fighting for some bigger cause, but rather for survival.

-Oliver Briggs

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3 thoughts on “What to Expect

  1. It is somewhat disappointing that their is no definitive answer present in the work but it is understandable that the issue should be treated with a degree of impartiality. Definitively choosing which side is the true aggressor in the narrative would aid the development of the argument significantly however. It is interesting how you discuss the inherent cyclical nature of violence in the work and its perpetuation as continual conflict between natives and colonists.

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  2. It is somewhat disappointing that their is no definitive answer present in the work but it is understandable that the issue should be treated with a degree of impartiality. Definitively choosing which side is the true aggressor in the narrative would aid the development of the argument significantly however. It is interesting how you discuss the inherent cyclical nature of violence in the work and its perpetuation as continual conflict between natives and colonists and you make a salient point that survival is the base desire for either party

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  3. Oliver,
    Your most original point is how you pit the violence display by the native against that of the colonists in Dryden’s play. I agree with Kevin, I think that you could have taken a stronger stance than “Rowlandson does not deserve her abuse, and neither did the natives”– and close reading a part of the text would have strengthened your post. Other than that it is a step in the right direction, good job.

    MNC
    Maria Nguyen-Cruz

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