ENG 2033: Heiniger
September 13, 2015
Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative Film Paper
Faith is a wonderful quality for a person to have. For someone going through a difficult situation in their lives, faith in God is the key that will get them through it. In Philippians, Paul says that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Life Application Study Bible, Php. 4.13). In Matthew, it says “And Jesus said unto them, ‘Because of your unbelief,: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Life Application Study Bible, Matt. 17.20).
Back in the 1600s, when the Native Americans were constantly attacking the settlers of the New World, faith was a much needed quality. In Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity and Restoration narrative, she states that on February 10, 1675, Native Americans launched an attack on the town of Lancaster, injuring and killing many people, taking some captive, and burning down people’s homes. When they got to Mary’s house, things quickly turned ugly. They injured or killed many of Mary’s family, including herself, “the bullets flying thick, one went through my side, and the same (as would seem) through the bowels and hand of my dear child in my arms.” Eventually, the Native Americans took Mary prisoner, along with 23 other people. At first Mary stated that she would rather be killed by them rather than being a hostage, but soon her mind changed (Rowlandson, Captivity and Restoration).
For the main portion of her Captivity and Restoration narrative, Mary tells about the various “removes” that she experienced, of which there were 20. She had some pretty horrible experiences, one of which was losing her 6 year old child to illness in the Third Remove. She was separated from her other children, not knowing if they were dead, alive, well, or sick. She witnessed the savage acts of the Native Americans, like stripping people and then killing them. No matter how bleak things seemed, she would depend more and more on God and it all worked itself out in the end. She stated that she even received kind gestures from some Native Americans, ones that she wasn’t familiar with (Rowlandson, Captivity and Restoration).
Mary states that after almost 3 months in the captivity of the Native Americans, she was finally set free. Those of her family that didn’t parish were set free also. Mary was changed forever by her experience, learning a valuable lesson from all of it: to not trust in worldly pleasures, but to depend on the grace and goodness of God (Rowlandson, Captivity and Restoration).
For my film adaptation of Mary Rowlandson’s narrative, I want to convey the importance of trusting in God. Trust that He will fight our battles for us, provide for us, and guide us, as he did for Mary. Quite often, there are “friends” that swear up and down that they will stick by our sides no matter what. Then the “right” situation comes along and that “friend” will up and abandon us when we need them the most. With God, we can rest assured that that will never happen. No matter if it seems like He is there or not, He always is.
The first aspect of my film has to do with dialogue. I would like to use voice over effects as well as the regular dialogue of the actors. During scenes of travel or the vicious acts of the Native Americans, I would have the actress for Mary Rowlandson doing a voice over of the narrative material that corresponded to that particular scene, which is a common practice in filmmaking today. For the role of Mary Rowlandson, I would want a well experienced, believable actress playing the part. Someone that the viewers can relate to and make them realize that that situation could happen to one of them, and as a result they are much more likely to take the film’s central message to heart.
For that role of Mary Rowlandson, I would pick Nina Dobrev as the actress for her. Nina is a very talented, well known TV actress who is most famous for playing 4 different roles in the show the Vampire Diaries. I don’t really watch the show, but from what I have seen in various clips, Nina puts on a phenomenal performance. She is very good at portraying believable emotional scenes, and she has portrayed couple characters that came from way in the past. I think she would be very comfortable in the role of Mary.
During the parts where scripture is involved, I would have a different actor doing that part, someone with a powerful, iconic voice, someone who I feel could represent God, His voice talking to Mary. This is why it can’t be just any actor taking on this role. Through careful thinking, I decided that I would want Liam Neeson for this role, and the reason behind this lies in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Liam Neeson did the voice of Aslan the Great Lion, who was kind of like the “Jesus Christ” of that universe. One would recall the scene where Aslan was sacrificed by the White Witch, but rose again at the Stone Table because of being killed to save a traitor. This is a dead ringer for the crucifixion story, where Jesus gave His life for us so that we, the traitors, could be saved from our sin.
For the soundtrack of the film, the music would be appropriately gospel, or at least most of it. Three songs I know for sure I would want on the soundtrack are as follows: “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless, “Everything I Need” by Kutless, and “Shoulders” by For King and Country. The first song talks about how with faith, hope never ends, and miracles can appear out of nowhere. The second song talks about the Lord being the source of strength and our way through difficult situations. The third pretty much talks about the same things that the first one does. I feel these would be very appropriate for my theme of the importance of depending on God (although of course they wouldn’t be the only songs on the soundtrack).
One another music note, I thought that during the parts where things worked themselves out, when God strengthened Mary to preserve, like in the Sixteenth Removal, the music would take on a hopeful, victorious sound to it. I feel this would further convince the viewers that depending on God will make you victorious over anything you face. I would not want to associate sorrowful sounding music to that, it would give the viewers the wrong vibe about it. They might think it’s a bad thing to depend on God and would mistakenly assume that depending on God brings hardship and turmoil, when it doesn’t.
Mary Rowlandson was a courageous woman. She chose to face her captivity rather than be killed, and through dependence on God, she was able to make it through her experience and soon reunite with her family again (Rowlandson, Captivity and Restoration).Should her story be turned into a movie, one must realize (including myself), that although her story contains a lot of gospel concepts in it, possibly not all of the viewers would be Christian. Everyone has their different beliefs, and it’s up to them what they choose to do with what they learned over the course of the movie, whether to consider converting to Christianity, to completely ignoring it. One thing I think everyone should do is value her story in at least some way, as it is and will always be a piece of our history.
Life Application Study Bible. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 2004. Print.
Rowlandson, Mary. Captivity and Restoration. Project Gutenberg, 3, Nov. 2009. Web. 13 Sept. 2015. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/851/851-h/851-h.htm