Rowlandson’s account of her captivity is shaped through her Puritan background and perspective.
Her knowledge of the Bible, historical references, and current events influence her views on Native Americans. She perceives her experience during captivity as punishment, a trial that she must persevere with faith to both God and the Bible, for her wrongdoings. Rowlandson thought she deserved her unfortunate turn of events, but that by holding on to her Puritan faith during the encounter with her captors she could somehow survive and represent herself as a genuine Christian lady.
Only then would she be fit for Puritan society. Rowlandson’s desire to keep hold of her status in society is evident in her writing. Because of this, her account is a biased and not entirely accurate one.
Rowlandson’s actions are supported by frequent citations of the Bible’s scripture throughout her account. Religion is an important aspect of her life that is referenced in her narrative on numerous occasions and it seems as if anything contrary to Puritan belief would risk her reputation in their society. One example of a biblical reference present in her narrative is when she talks about the Sabbath day. By acknowledging the Sabbath, she hoped to gain compassion from people around her.
According to her account, however, the ‘heathens’ knew no sympathy and had threatened to kill Rowlandson and all of her children before. History between the Indians and colonists had been peaceful until King Philip’s war began. The Indian attackers took many colonists while the war was raging on, including Rowlandson and her loved ones. Being a Puritan woman, Rowlandson stated that the unfamiliar environment stripped her from her culture and femininity.
The role of motherhood and femininity occurs several times throughout her account as she focuses on her beloved children. When her young child dies, Rowlandson felt a great amount of motherly distress. The death of her child is only one factor that makes Rowlandson loathe Native Americans and their culture. They were not Christian, which made them of little worth to Rowlandson. Christianity and Puritanism seem to be the main theme in Rowlandson’s account of her captivity.
She uses biblical references to justify her actions and goes to the Bible for consolation. Historical references of the war were also used to help further explain the contempt she felt towards Native Americans. She clearly illustrated what a Puritan woman’s view on the Indians and their culture was like during that time period. Although, her biased perspective may tilt details in her favor in order to uphold her womanly and Christian reputation in Puritan society.