A Poem Imagining Apess’s Reaction to Rowlandson’s Narrative

He (Apess) was the grandson of a white man

But also the grandson of a native woman

His grandmother was the granddaughter of King Philip


He was born and taken to alcoholics at a young age

Only to be beaten and sold like an animal in a cage

He was no stranger to misfortune and pain


He then went on to understand religion and what from it there was to gain

Rowlandson was also devoted to God

So she tried to see her ordeal as part of her path


Apess may relate to the misfortune she faced

But he related more to the Native race


Apess read what Rowlandson had to say about her captors

She called them “heathens”

She regarded them as barbaric actors

She went beyond lengths to come up with the words to insult them


Apess could see perhaps where she was coming from

But he suspects she was surprised


To see the (native) children facing hunger

To see the lack of actual violence

To see how they live off the land and to know that her people were taking that land


Perhaps Mary knew she had been prejudice in her beliefs

Just as Apess questions whether it is right to have those prejudices


Apess knew that what was under white skin was no different than what was under red skin

But Rowlandson held onto her prejudice so that she would not be shunned from her own kin


But after living with her captors

And bonding with them – though she may deny it

Apess must wonder why it was so hard to defend them


To at least deny their savagery

To understand where their motives came from


A place of oppression

A place of inequality

A place of misfortune


If they had crossed paths at the same time

Apess could ask Rowlandson why


Why white people believe they are more deserving of God’s grace

When their skin is just one

Among dozens of other colors


Why she chose to degrade the native people and continue to secure her place among the whites

Why she chose to believe that her torture was part of God’s plan but not consider that

Perhaps that torture was placed so that she could understand those people


If her destiny was to come across the natives and live with them

Why did she not think that maybe her God put her there to learn

To change her preconceived notions

To see with her own eyes that the native people deserve better treatment

Better rights

Better imagery


Apess is of native descent and he believes in a God

So why was Rowlandson’s God any different or any better


If they both worship and live for the same God

Why are Rowlandson’s people more deserving

Or why do they think they are more deserving


Because of color

Because of what they think it means to be civil

Because of their ignorance


Apess has many questions

Many that cannot be answered fully even today


Because what happened back then

Still happens today

As if some aspects of time haven’t changed


The prejudices still exist

The color still pulls people apart

The idea of religion has been split into all sorts of parts


People will believe what they want to believe

People will not accept some people

People will be people


They will always hold on to the good and the bad

Both will always stick around

Because people will always find a way to justify their beliefs as good

-Maria G. Perez

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Recurring Intolerance Occurring with Violence

Samantha Shapiro

War, violence, and power all play a large role in both the reinforcement of and complicating of recurrent intolerant behavior during King Philip’s War against the indigenous people. This is conveyed through the actions of both the native Algonquins and English colonizers through Rowlandson’s narrative, where they help to establish a change seen when comparing prior depictions such as John Dryden’s The Indian Emperour, or the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards.

Mary Rowlandson’s narrative focuses on violence when detailing her interactions with the native Algonquins, which reinforces intolerance against the native American indigenous people. Rowlandson’s narrative opens up with her recounting of the horror she faced in the Lancaster Raid of 1675; in which it was “the dreadful hour come…often heard of in time of war” where she recounts: “from all which places they shot against the house, so that the bullets seemed to fly like hail; quickly they wounded one man among us, then another, and then a third” (Rowlandson). Her recounting paints a terrifying picture of violent raiders and victims “wallowing in their blood,” one where war and violence plays a large role in shaping the narrative and dynamic between her captors and herself as a captive slave. This helps to reinforce the idea of intolerance against the natives through her choice of language in the introduction, seeing the Wampanoag as a “company of hell-hounds,” demons, and “infidels.”

However, there remains a large shift in this narrative, complicating the recurrent intolerant behavior, partly due to the close relationship developed between Mary Rowlandson and King Philip. This development begins to complicate the recurrent intolerant behavior due to the absence of violence — for a narrative piece taking place during King Philip’s (own) War, there’s a surprising lack of violence seen when the two are together, and it can be argued that the two leave on seemingly friendly terms, given the circumstances. In the Eighth Remove, she  seemingly hides a close moment establishing a relationship with Metacom, offering her a smoke from a tobacco-pipe. In this context, his offering of a smoke with a ceremonial pipe could imply his intention “to make a ceremonial commitment, or to seal a covenant or treaty” (wikipedia.org). Rowlandson’s lack of response reinforces the idea that something may have occurred with the way she later recounts Metacom in The Twentieth Remove, where he “then Philip…called [her] to him, and asked [her] what I would give him, to tell [her] some good news, and speak a good word for [her]…[she] thanked him for his love,” he then afterwards opposing her leaving and going home to her husband. Her cross-cultural exchange, sharing a pipe with King Philip and eventual cross-cultural relationship established with Metacom helps to show a different outlook on the seemingly hardened intolerance; violence and bloodshed help to perpetuate a continuation of intolerance and mistreatment of the native Wampanoag.

Massasoit (father of Metacom) and governor John Carver smoking a peace pipe in Plymouth in 1621

This “cross-cultural exchange” with Rowlandson and the native Algonquins can be compared to the conquest of the native Aztecs in Dryden’s The Indian Emperour, where the cross-cultural exchange, or more explicit conquest, shows other signs of exchange with the development of a romantic subplot between many of the major European conquistadors and the native Aztec women. Power is highlighted, however, in a propaganda-based fashion in order to establish a domineering power over not only the “lesser natives” but also women, which we see power in the form of an almost romanticized version of violence.

A Colonial History of Violence

Mary Rowlandson was held captive for eleven weeks and five days after she and her three children were taken captive by a Wampanoag raiding party. The details of the brutality Rowlandson witnessed and at times endured give readers a look into the conflicting relationship between the colonists and the natives. Rowlandson’s interactions with the Algonquian people complicate and contradict the history of intolerance against native people during the English colonization period. Though Rowlandson initially endures brutality and suffers the loss of her baby, the development of her writing gives the natives a sort of humanistic perspective that early writers did not give before. For example, when Rowlandson is taken to meet with King Philip, she begins to weep and when a native asked her why she cried, she said that the natives would kill her. To this, the native responded no and that “None [would] hurt [her].” Furthermore, one of the natives “gave [her] two spoonfuls of meal to comfort [her]” while another “gave [her] half a pint of peas”, which according to Rowlandson, “was more worth than many bushels at another time”. This contradicts the idea that natives only inflicted violence upon settlers. In this scene, the natives display an act of kindness during a time when Rowlandson showed vulnerability and sadness. When Rowlandson meets with King Philip, he offers her a smoke of his tobacco pipe as a compliment and though she speaks about how sinful smoking was, she never explicitly states whether or not she accepted to smoke. In the ninth remove, Rowlandson learns that her son is less than a mile from her and when she asks for permission to go and see him, they allow her to do so. The simple and seemingly meaningless acts of kindness contradict the ideas that both people were completely intolerant of one another.  In a close-up view, the threats Rowlandson faced and the deaths she witnessed in Lancaster may cause readers to have sympathy for her. However, by looking at the situation from a historical, outside, and educated perspective, the deaths that happened in Lancaster and the threats Rowlandson faced do not evoke much sympathy. The conflict that led up to the actions taken by the Algonquian people were a consequence of the white immigrant colonists’ constant invasion on native lands (a consequence of their own actions and example of hypocrisy). When taking into the consideration the years of violence and constant dehumanization natives faced, one small raiding party and the death of some white colonists does not measure up to the hundreds of native people and children brutally murdered. Rowlandson’s writing does confirm the violence that existed between natives and English people, but only to a certain extent. Many of the threats Rowlandson faced were words and actual brutality was not commonly placed upon her. Her writing complicates history because the natives did not invade the small town just to inflict violence. They acted upon violence to capture the wife of a minister and to defend themselves against the constant white invasion. Perhaps Rowlandson restrained herself from including more details in order to protect her Puritan chastity, but the small details actually mentioned and the inclusion of native words only support the idea that she actually formed some type of unspoken bond with her captors.

-Maria G. Perez

The Second Mariner

On the swift ocean current calm,

With my hair flowing like the leaves of the Palms,

With a crew of over two hundred men,

Running about like wild pigs in a pen.

 

A thick fog begins to rise from the sea,

A very bad omen wouldn’t you agree?

With blocks of ice putting us to and fro,

A white-washed bird hovering low.

 

Could this be without a doubt,

The Mariner’s Rime come about?

But why here now, of any day,

Did the Mariner choose us to stay?

 

Centuries forth, with vessels of steel,

And an Iron Maiden giving repeal,

With no other thought, I raise my gun,

Three rounds fired for each of my sons.

 

As the snowy bird does fall on its head,

The pure white feathers now stained red,

The crew looks on in shock and awe,

The fog recedes and air turns raw.

 

At first the crew believes it’s a good sign,

But I know that darkness will come in time,

And as the stage does surely set,

Life and Death each one I’ve met.

 

As the angels arrive from the heavens,

This floating slot machine missed all sevens.

All my crew fell down dead,

With blood pooling beneath their heads.

 

Then Life looked down upon me,

Shook her head only to leave me be,

For then the nightmares soon began,

For me there was no promised land.

 

For years on hence I spread the tale,

Of Life and Death on wind and sail.

Not one soul dared turn an eye,

Not even daring a polite goodbye.

 

Now the curse has begun to fade,

I wish to end this escapade;

I want redemption for my sin,

The holy bird’s blood on my chin.

 

So further I travel every time,

Muttering the Ancient Mariner’s Rime,

Was I not the first to be cursed as such?

Coleridge has made me think as much.

 

As I walk once again in an inn,

I spot an old sailor speaking through the din,

Of a tale quite so similar to mine,

Almost fully, line by line.

 

No one listened to his tale but one,

Which was myself with a meal now done,

I spoke with him and asked his age,

He seemed to have lost count after each page.

 

The man wrote stories of his curse,

Like a woman obsesses of what’s in her purse.

He remembers the script, every word,

The passerby think he’s clearly absurd.

 

I tell him he’s not the only one with this fate,

Though I admit, I am a bit late,

He takes in every word I say,

Then nods his head and goes on his way.

 

Now here in the present day,

I speak to those who I may,

Where so few know the tale itself,

The Rime now on a dusty shelf.

 

Where it is no longer read,

So even now, my legend, dead;

But forever I continue my quest,

To get the penance that I request.

 

And soon enough or so I hear,

I will be free to ascend with family dear,

So now I bid thee a swift farewell,

As I spread my tale and wish all well.

 

 

Review:

This is a poem based off the thought of the events of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner repeating themselves in the current day. I used descriptive imagery of the time period, such as Iron Maiden and the boat the narrator traveling on being made of steel. Another difference is that the poem actually makes reference to the original work by Coleridge. The narrator appears to be following a different path, focusing on making sure others hear his story, though none truly listen. The sailor narrating the poem was based off my brother, who is currently in the US Navy.

Parlier, 2017

I’ve decided to imitate, William Blake’s “London”, Blake focuses on the sense of hearing and how things are not always okay. My hometown sometimes seems to be okay, all put together, but the truth is it isn’t. People only chose to be nice when they please, roads are constantly messed up. Since it is an agriculture town, we get to smell pesticides on the daily, we hear gunshots, the trains passing by, fireworks even if it’s not the fourth of July. Blake has challenged me to look at the negative, I’ve never looked at my town in a negative way, but sometimes we need to acknowledge the problems we face on a daily.

 

Parlier, “A Fine Community”

Where everyone works at Sunwest

Yet, there is countless scrutiny

But it’s okay, our fruit is the best

 

People ride their bikes for that next high.

Amigo’s Market, Rancho Market, The Purple Plum.

Some don’t realize it could be their last goodbye.

How could you want to be so numb?

 

The nights are the worst.

Guns, trains, fireworks, and Pesticides.

Would it be easier if it was rehearsed?

Instead, let’s count the homicides.

 

No! There’s a lifeless dog!

How could one be so cruel?

Never mind, they’ll just go for a jog.

It’s alright, Parlier is still a jewel.

 

-Viviana Ojeda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duality

“Every rational mind answer, No. Let such reflections as these melt the pride of their superiority into sympathy for the wants and miseries of their sable brethen, and compel them to acknowledge, that understanding is not confined to feature or colour.” pg 56

I had trouble finding the ideal passage I was looking for in the book where Equiano states that he will not focus on the troubles of the slaves as a whole but explain his struggles. He says that by focusing on one individual’s struggles the readers will connect better with the individual rather than with a group. I believe that quote would connect with the first image of the Quakers showing the people what they (the Quakers) want them to see. Equiano states that he rather tell the readers about his own life story, which as I understand means he’s only going to show what he wants to the reader. He tells us that he wrote his narrative as a propaganda for anti-slavery. He wrote the narrative with the intention of only showing us what he sees fit, what he thinks would resonate with the readers more. He’s picking and choosing what to show the readers. Albeit, he wants to abolish slavery  because the slave owners are cruel and unjust, while the Quakers in the political cartoon wish to abolish slavery to gain control over the sugar market. By abolishing slavery, the people would need to get their sugar from the Quakers which would benefit everyone for the most part, with the exception of the plantation owners. The political cartoon is  an anti-abolitionist one but they’re claiming that the Quakers are only showing you what they want the people to see and negative aspects of slavery. And in a way they are technically correct as that is what Equiano is doing. He is explicitly showing us the negative aspects of his life and the only reason he has a problem with Europeans having slaves is because they do not take care of them. Which makes me ask if the whites took better care of him and the others, would he have no complaints? Would he have lived the rest of his days as a slave? He grew up in a society where slaves where an everyday thing, his father owned slaves who in turn owned their own slaves. Can you say slave-ception?

Equiano included image of how they were treated and packed into ships like sardines. Near the end of the narrative he talks about how he became an overseer of slaves, how he was heading overseas with his friend to a plantation, and how he wished he could flog the Native Americans. He seems to sound hypocritical. How does he want to abolish slavery yet go and start doing things that would promote slavery inadvertently. He also mentioned in the narrative that he would only choose slaves from his town because he trusted their work ethic and knew they were hard workers. It started to sound like he was appropriating the European culture and opinion on slavery. He was doing to his own people what they did to him and his people. He talked about how he “menaced” the Indians with religion and how it worked like “magic.” Sort of how the Europeans went to Africa and told the natives that their Gods were false and would not protect them like their (European God) would.

 

-Andres Quezada

War, It happens

As Swift suggests “humankind would be happier if it could think and behave the way the Houyhnhnms do” I would havento disagree with this idea.

In part four chapter five on pg. 228, Gulliver has spent a good amount of time describing War to the Master Horse, and “I was going on to more Particulars, when my Master Commanded me Silence. He said, Whoever understood the Nature of Yahoos might easily believe it possible for so vile an animal, to be capable of every Action I had named, if their Strength and Cunning equaled their Malice. But as my Discourse had increased his Abhorrence of the whole species, so he found it gave him a Disturbance in his Mind, to which he was wholly  a Stranger before.”

Shortly after Gulliver smiles at Master Horse’s ignorance, but it is very clear war is not okay. And as Gulliver explains war, it really seems as if he is trying to justify those who have called wars. Yet Master Horse cannot understand why one would want to go to war, there shouldn’t be any reason to hate someone so much you would want to go to war with that individual. And yes I can agree, why would someone want to go to war, if it creates such unwanted chaos among all who are involved and even to those who are not involved. If  we even look on our own history, most of our land and freedom was built because of war.

I like Gulliver’s smile and Master Horse, because it’s a simple remark that has a great meaning. War is something we ultimately can’t escape from, it is bound to happen, we have very little control over it. It is a simple flaw of our human nature, we are naturally competitive with each other, we naturally debate with others who have opposing ideas. His little smirk isn’t out of disrespect, but out of “You really have no idea”.

I also think it’s interesting how the Yahoo’s are constantly described as being animals, the disrespect they are so often given doesn’t justify the Houyhnhnms to think of the Yahoo’s  as such a horrible race that aren’t important, are described as being so “vile”. The Yahoo’s aren’t worthy to be understood as a society, nor do they have any great ideas. As they are constantly described as being evil, and savage. The Houyhnhnms are essentially proposing their way is the only important way to think, to do, their actions are not evil, yet what they are implying is they are the true nation, they are right in all they do. But the reality is is they want a complete Utopia, which essentially is impossible to accomplish. A Utopia would never work because there is too much individuality , too many different ways of thinking, there would never be a way we’re everyone could be under the same system unless it was by a dangerous force, which we can imply by Master Horse. Master Horse’s ignorant view on war is rather disturbing, how could you not know about the dangers of war, or pretend to know of such thing? Ultimately it is impossible to accomplish.

Viviana Ojeda

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

War, Slavery and Genocide Is A Necessary Evil

Mary Rowlandson’s life story and experiences with Native Americans confirms the history of intolerance and genocide central to the English colonization of eastern North America. John Locke thought that slavery was an outcome from war, but Locke still felt that all men ought to be free, regardless of the outcome of a war. Locke felt that the only way a person can be a slave is through his own will. However, if that was the case then there would be no slaves. But what is interesting about John Locke is tht when he was discussing basic human rights such as freedom and liberty, ‘free men’ were considered to be only white men since that was all John Locke knew. John Locke’s only meant for the ‘free men’ to apply only to white men because that was all he knew. Therefore, his arguments for slavery are weak, and many think that he is either for it or against it or just a hypocrite. However, I feel that Locke understood that slavery was a part of life, and those who were superior would control the weak.

No human wants to be born a slave, or give up his divine human rights to his conquerors. However, this is a price people have to pay. I don’t condone slavery and war, but I understand that it is as natural part of human civilization. Today, slavery is still going on and I don’t see any outrage? How do you think technology (cellphones and laptops), food (farming and labor), and resources are produced. Third world countries are in slaved so that Western countries can triumph. John Locke believed that in order to secure some freedoms, we also have to give some up. Therefore, if we want capitalism and productivity to flow someone has to be a slave, and someone has to be manipulated. It’s a cruel world, but it has to happen.

During class many students were taken back when asked a question regarding Rowlandson and her children? A majority felt that Rowlandson was in the right because she was a mother, and the natives were in the wrong because the idea that anybody could harm a mother and her children is cold-hearted. However, if killing children is so cold hearted why didn’t the colonists say to themselves, “hey maybe we should stop expanding and settle with what we have built rather than continuing our destruction, and maybe that will stop these atrocities from happening”. The reason that the colonists didn’t feel anything for Rowlandson’s pain is because they also understood that price of war and genocide. The colonists also understood that as evil as the idea of children dying at the hands of savages was, it was a small price to pay for conquest of North America.

-Benjamin Montes

Native vs English

The case of Mary Rowlandson can become very complicated because it’s easy to sympathize for both sides. Through my eyes if I recap on history during the colonization I see bloodshed and war. I see how unfairly the English came and conquered the Native land, leading to a mass genocide (which just makes me upset and all the harder to side with the English), but looking into this small situation I feel like it all comes down to humanity. Yes Mary Rowlandson was a part of the English but her husband were one of the few who tried to make peace and take control. Also she was a mother with 5 kids, so I find it somewhat difficult to believe that she was treated the way she says she was in her narrative. I have this inner voice that has me convinced that the Native Americans were the good guys. Another thing I want to consider is that what if Mary Rowlandson’s narrative wasn’t all truth? What if it was exaggerated to make it seem like that her kidnappers were worse than depicted? The validity comes into question because of the monotonicity her narrative and she doesn’t specifically state any incident of torture from the Algonquians, along with the fact that she mentions instances where she is knitting clothes in return for food and other services. In ‘The Second Treatise on Government” John Locke states “It is also a state of equality, in which no-one has more power and authority than anyone else; because it is simply obvious that creatures of the same species and status, all born to all the same advantages of nature and to the use of the same abilities, should also be equal” explaining equal rights and opportunities for all men. As Thomas explained in his blog post about the incineration of 500 members of the Pequot tribe, it just goes to show that John Locke’s policy only applied to the privileged colonists.

-Ravneet Dhillon