Mary Rowlandson was born in Somersetshire England in 1637 but was later brought to the United States of America by her father, John White. He was a wealthy landholder in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They settled in Lancaster where Mary met and married her husband Joseph Rowlandson. She served as a minister’s wife and mother of three children for approximately twenty years in the town. Her perfect life was soon taken from her by an attack on the town of Lancaster. The American Indians attacked the colonial settlements in order to get back their lands. This time period was known as the King Phillip’s War.
Mary Rowlandson experienced eleven weeks of death in life. In her narrative, she used God as a means of hope and guidance. Life is uncertain and at any point it can be taken. Therefore, live in the present time to relish life’s purpose. On February 10, 1675, the American Indians violently attacked Lancaster killing numerous settlers in hopes to regain their land. They took many of the residents with them including Mary Rowlandson and her three children. After her release she wrote a narrative where she vividly spoke of the attacks on the town and how inhumane the Indians were.
Her life was suddenly changed for the worst. Mary witnessed many deaths including her brother-in-law. She stated, “But out we must go, the fire increasing, and coming along behind us, roaring, and the Indians gaping before us with their guns, spears, and hatchets to devour us. No sooner were we out of the house, but my brother-in-law [… ] fell down dead, whereat the Indians scornfully shouted [.. ] the bullets flying thick, one went through my side, and the same (as would seem) went through [.. ] my dear child in my arms. (258).
She remembered the details of this gruesome morning as she had never experienced something like this before in her ntire life; “Thus we were butchered by those merciless heathen, standing amazed, with the blood running down our heels. ” (258). After watching how they were killing people, Mary’s thought about being killed by them suddenly changed. She wanted to be alive to be able to speak of her captivity. Mary Rowlandson classified her journey in the wilderness with the Indians as “Removes. ” During this twenty removes, Mary experienced her death in life.
She was physically alive but mentally and emotionally dead. Mary got separated from two of her children and was left with the youngest who was wounded nd died shortly there after in Mary’s hand due to lack of medical attention. Mary learned that her elder daughter was held in the town that she was but never saw her. She continued with the Indians on their journey through the wilderness, barely surviving what is now her life. The Indians had stopped at many towns that they conquered, selling the settlers from Lancaster to different sannups and squaws (husband and wife respectively).
This was exhausting for Mary as she had to be moving often with different masters each time. She finally saw her son as he was held captive at a settlement that was close by nd again was separated shortly thereafter from him. She felt as if the journey was never ending and life was no longer important to her; “When I was returned, I found myself as unsatisfied as l was before [… ] my sprit was ready to sink with the thoughts of my poor children. ” (269). Mary and her masters continued to travel through the wilderness but soon came upon English soldiers and had to take a detour.
Finally, they arrived at King Phillip’s settlement where Mary sewed clothes for her masters in exchange for food. Most of the time Mary did not receive food unless she worked for it; There was a squaw who spoke to me to make a shirt for her sannup, for which she gave me a piece of bear. ” (268). During her captivity she experienced death in life as she woke up everyday with hopes of getting food or being free. Also, when she did eventually get offered food, she feared that the masters would take it from her: “. ] and gave me a piece of bear.
I put it into my pocket, and came home, but could not find an opportunity to broil it, for fear they would get it from me. (269). ” Back when she was the minister’s wife in Lancaster, Mary did not have to worry about the availability of food. Her lifestyle and daily routine completely changed after the attack. Despite the hardships that Mary faced, she always looked to God for guidance and as opened the Bible and lighted on Psalm 27 [… ] Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine Heart, wait I say on the Lord. ‘ (263).
Every time she felt that it was her time and death was near, Mary went to read her bible to regain strength and courage that the storm will soon be over. According to Kathleen Canavan, “her already obviously close connection to God, was called upon to suffer terrible hardship y His hands and comes truly to know Him. ” (“The Matron and Minister”). Mary left King Phillip’s settlement in hopes that she way of hope out of the life she was ng: “We will return home. She found out that her husband was alive and well in Boston. This made her happier than ever.
Shortly after, Mary spoke with King Phillip who told her that she would be free in two weeks. The Indians held her at ransom for twenty pounds. Mary still had hope that she would soon be free from her “death” in life: “This morning I asked my master whether he would sell me to my husband. He answered me ‘Nux,’ which did uch rejoice my spirit. (270). ” Negotiations continued for a few days and after eleven weeks of torture, Mary was freed and reunited with her husband. Her sister, daughter and son eventually joined Mary and her husband in Boston.
Mary resided there until her husband passed. Shortly after, she remarried and resided in Connecticut Valley where she died in January 5, 1711. Life is uncertain and at any point it can be taken. Mary Rowlandson lived a “perfect” life and suddenly it was taken from her. She went through the trauma of seeing her family members killed, homeless and hungry. Mary Rowlandson’s narrative ndicates that life is uncertain and nothing is promised. Even through all what we think is the seeming stability of life can be taken at any point without warning.
This was not only evident in Mary’s life before and after the attack but also during her captivity. For the eleven weeks that she was taken, nothing was consistent; Mary was always on this never ending journey from place to place. Also, her masters were inconsistent in the way they treated her; “Sometimes I met with favor, and sometimes with nothing but frowns. ” (270). Through it all, Mary was uncertain about her life as well. She was not sure if she would be able to survive the torture and mistreatment.
During her captivity, Mary experienced death in her life which was a very dark time for her. According to Spark Notes, “In her captive state, Rowlandson can take nothing for granted. ” (“The Sovereignty & Goodness of God”). She was physically alive but emotionally and mentally dead. Mary was hopeful and despite the various challenges and experiences, she decided that she was going to pull through it all. She saw death but did not allow it to become reality. The narrative teaches that life is uncertain and at any point it can be taken.