Ethnicity and Mary Rowlandson

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Ethnicity and Mary Rowlandson

During her time spent in captivity, Mary Rowlandson endured several challenges and experienced gruesome ordeals that she had never imagined being a part of. She interacted with a culture so vastly different from her own in economy, politics, and religion that she couldn’t help but adapt to her new situation. Mary Rowlandson evolved, but she emerged from her captivity with the same core as the woman who was originally abducted.

            The stoutest example of her constancy during this time of trial is her devotion to scripture. The Bible given to her by one of the Indians in her party is her rock throughout the experience and is considered by Rowlandson to be the greatest blessing God could have given her. She recounts her first reading from it, saying, “ I took the Bible, and in that melancholy time, it came into my mind to read first the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, which I did, and when I had read it, my dark heart wrought on this manner: that there was no mercy for me, that the blessings were gone, and the curses come in their room, and that I had lost my opportunity. But the Lord helped me still to go on reading till I came to Chap. 30, the seven first verses, where I found, there was mercy promised again, if we would return to Him by repentance; and though we were scattered from one end of the earth to the other, yet the Lord would gather us together, and turn all those curses upon our enemies. I do not desire to live to forget this Scripture, and what comfort it was to me." (263) This is a pivotal moment in Mary Rowlandson’s narrative. Until this point, she had felt nothing but despair and sorrow, seeing nothing but the hopelessness of her situation. This attitude is mirrored by the first portion of scripture she read, finding no mercy or blessings for herself. However, her attitude begins to change the further she reads. Rowlandson identifies with those in Deuteronomy who, even though they are scattered, will be gathered by the Lord. Not only this, but the Lord will take revenge upon their enemies. In her time of captivity, Rowlandson found this promise very comforting and clung to it as her strength.

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