Rowlandson’s account of her captivity is shaped through her Puritan background and perspective.
Her knowledge of the Bible, historical references, and current events influences her views on Native Americans.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 woman. Only then would she be fit for Puritan society. Rowlandson’s desire to keep hold of her womanly and Christian status in Puritan society is reflected in her writing. Because of this, her account is a biased and not entirely accurate one. Rowlandson’s actions are supported by frequent references to the Bible’s scripture throughout her account.
Religion is an important aspect of her life and is referenced in her narrative so much that it would seem anything contrary to Puritan belief would risk her reputation in their society. One example of a biblical reference Rowlandson makes present in her narrative is when she talks about the Sabbath day. In acknowledging the Sabbath day, she hoped to gain compassion and sympathy from people around her.
According to her account, however, the Native American ‘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 up until King Philip’s war. The Native American attackers took many colonists during the war, including Rowlandson and her loved ones. Being a Puritan woman, Rowlandson stated that the unfamiliar environment stripped her from her culture and femininity. Motherhood’s feminine role occurs several times throughout her narrative as she focuses on her children. When her youngest 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 value 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 turns to the Bible for consolation. Historical references of the war are also used to help further explain the contempt she felt towards Native Americans.
Rowlandson was able to clearly illustrate what a Puritan, European woman’s view on Native Americans 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 status in Puritan society.