Mary Rowlandson Captivity Narrative Essay

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She surprised herself with her endurance and ability to adapt.

She ate food that previously would have disgusted her, including raw horse liver and bear meat.

Rowlandson, the wife of a Puritan minister, and her three children were taken hostage by Narragansett Indians in February 1676.

Six-year-old Sarah was wounded in the raid on their village, and died nine days later in her mother’s arms; the other two children were sold to different tribes, and Mary was forced to travel with her captors, trekking about 150 miles north until she was ransomed to her husband in May.

Of hers, Dugard writes, “He gives me hugs sometimes and makes me feel loved.” While the psychological shorthand for hostages who develop emotional attachments to their kidnappers is Stockholm syndrome, freed captives often protest the term’s simplification and pathologization of their experience. Dugard read fairy tales, mythology and romance novels by Nora Roberts and Danielle Steel. They found ways to observe and imagine, even to write in captivity.

As Natascha Kampusch, an Austrian woman kidnapped at the age of 10 and imprisoned for eight years until she was able to escape, writes: “Getting closer to the kidnapper is not an illness. Sabine Dardenne, a Belgian woman locked for 80 days in a cellar as a 12-year-old, “always had an eye for detail,” she notes, and “everything that I’d noticed or heard was etched on my brain.” Kampusch wrote short stories in her mind “that nobody would put on paper.” Eventually she managed to get paper and write her own science fiction novel.

Some Puritans tried to spread Christianity to New England's Indians, but most tribes were distrustful of the settlers because they as often spread disease and dissension among tribes as they spread Christianity.

For the settlers' part, nothing reinforced their negative associations with Indians like the tradition of captivity narratives which emerged in early American letters.

Donoghue’s “Room,” described by Jack, the 5-year-old son of a woman abducted at 19, contains only a few objects — Wardrobe, Rug, Plant, Rocker — that Jack and Ma have made iconic and comforting through the power of imagination.

Although modern Gothic novels narrated by psychopathic men, like John Fowles’s thriller “The Collector” (1963), have inspired actual crimes, the genre of the captivity narrative is very different.


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