Mary Rowlandson’s Enduring Puritan Faith

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Mary Rowlandson’s faith is astounding, and even in the most dire of circumstances she sees evidence of God. As a Puritan minister’s wife, her view of captivity and restoration has endured for well over 300 years and has been a testament to her unshakable faith. This powerful story of Rowlandson’s time in captivity inspires the reader that a strong faith in God can overcome the most horrid of circumstances. For eleven weeks in captivity, Rowlandson is faced with starvation, slavery, and possible death and never waivers from her staunch Puritan Faith. In 1675, during King Phillip’s War, hostilities naturally heightened as the Wampanoag, in addition to other tribes, were driven from their land by the ever-increasing numbers of European settlers to America. Rowlandson’s husband, the Reverend Joseph Rowlandson, was away in Boston asking for help from the Governor when rumors circulated about possible Indian attacks that began taking place. King Phillip, also known as Metacomet to the colonists, began a series of attacks on colonial white settlements, including the Rowlandson’s home town of Lancaster. During this vicious attack, numerous houses were burned down while innocent fathers, mothers, and babies were knocked on the head and dragged away still alive. Mary Rowlandson and her three children, Joseph, Mary, and Sarah, were among the hostages. Rowlandson kept her faith and swore that she would fight and be taken alive, “I choose rather to go alone with those (as I may say) ravenous beasts, Gillies 2 than that moment to end my days; and that I may declare what happened to me during this grievous captivity” (Byam 129-130), even though she was physically wounded during the attacks by people she considered murderous wretches, bloody heathens, and infidels.

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