Study Questions for Mary Rowlandson

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Study Questions for Mary Rowlandson

1. What are the basic events recounted in Rowlandson's ''Captivity"?

2. What is her attitude toward the Native Americans?

3. How does Rowlandson see herself? Does this change in the course of the narrative?

4. From where does she draw her images and the cadence of her writing? What effect does this have for the reader? What does it reveal about her anticipated audience?

5. Why does she number and describe each remove?

6. This text, too, can be treated as history. In what ways is it similar to the work of Bradford and Winthrop? How does it differ?

7. Does Rowlandson’s mental state change as her outward behaviors change? What happens to her spiritual values? Do you think her treatment of this issue is affected because the narrative is written after the fact?

8. The full quotation which closes the narrative is "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord; which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again." Why might Rowlandson or her editor have chosen this as a last line?

9. Does this narrative contain any elements of the cosmic drama that preoccupied the Puritans? How does Rowlandson read the wilderness?

10. Rowlandson also uses her experiences as a metaphor for a spiritual journey, a process of going through a dark night of the soul? How can her narrative be read in this way? Does it change the implications of the text?

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