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 Her knowledge of the Bible, historical references, and current events influences her views on Native Americans.
Rowlandson perceives her experience during captivity as punishment, a trial that she must endure with faith to both God and the Bible, for her wrongdoings. Rowlandson thought she deserved her unfortunate turn of events, but by holding on to the faith of God during her encounter with the indians she could somehow survive and represent herself as a true Christian woman. Only then would she be suitable 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 can be understood as a biased and not entirely accurate one. Rowlandson’s actions are supported by frequent references to the scripture of the Bible 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 respectability and status in their society.
One example a biblical reference Rowlandson makes present in her narrative is when she talks about the Sabbath day. In acknowledging the Sabbath day, she could gain compassion and sympathy from those around her. According to her account, however, the Native American ‘heathens’ knew no sympathy and had threatened to kill both Rowlandson and her children before. History between the Indians and the colonists had been peaceful up until King Philip’s war, which Rowlandson references to in her narrative.
The Native American attackers took many colonists during King Philip’s war, including Rowlandson and her children. Being a Puritan woman, Rowlandson stated that the unfamiliar environment stripped her from her culture and femininity. The feminine role of motherhood occurs several times throughout her narrative as she focuses on her children. When her youngest child dies, Rowlandson feels a great amount of distress as a mother who cares for her children. The death of her youngest 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 scripture for support and comfort. Historical references of the war are also used to help further explain the contempt she held towards Native Americans. During Rowlandson’s time as a captive, she was able to clearly illustrate what a Puritan, European woman’s view on Native Americans and their culture was like. Although, her biased perspective may tilt details in her favor in order to uphold her womanly and Christian status in Puritan society.