- Typology: How does the book of Job or the story of David or the the character of Daniel relate to Rowlandson’s captivity experience? How might this biblical context clarify her use of phrases like “ravenous Beasts” or “Barbarous Creatures” to describe indigenous people? What examples of Calvinism do you find in her narrative? Consider using this searchable online Bible to track down some of those biblical allusions.
- Captivity narratives: See this overview of the captivity narrative genre. In what ways do you see Rowlandson following these conventions or deviating from them in her personal account of captivity?
- Death: We’ve seen Bradford, Bradstreet, and Taylor reflect on the meaning of hardship either for the colony or within the family due to death from illness or injury. How does Rowlandson make sense of the death she has witnessed? How does she come to grips with her infant’s death?
- Race relations: How do the other texts we’ve read that pertain to race relations help you make sense of Rowlandson’s portraits of Native Americans? Remember that the publication date for this text is 1682, nearly two hundred years after Columbus’s first contact. What has changed about race relations in this span of time? What has stayed the same? This synopsis of King Phillip’s War will add historical context for Rowlandson’s narrative.
- Religion: How does Rowlandson’s discussion of religion compare and contrast with other texts that we’ve read? In what ways might she be similar to other Calvinists? In what ways might she be different? What might these comparisons and contrasts suggest about religion in early America or the relationship between religion and American identity?
- Gender: How does Rowlandson compare to the other women we’ve seen in colonial American literature (female figures in the origin stories, Eve, Hutchinson, and Bradstreet)? In what ways is she conventional as a Puritan woman? In what ways is she unconventional?
- American identity: Rowlandson’s narrative brings us nearly to the end of the seventeenth century. How would you define “an American” at this point in history? Is there such a thing? What does Rowlandson’s narrative contribute to our understanding of the origins and evolution of American identity from the pre-Columbian period through the seventeenth century in Puritan New England?
Why did some white women prefer to remain with Native American tribes even after they had been ransomed?