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Narrative of Captivity and Restoration by C. Mather Coursework

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There was some literary and historical evidence of Indian atrocities mentioned in the works of Cotton Mather who noted Indians using ‘Sorceries to molest the First Planters’ (Mather 329). However, a more well-round and multifaceted depiction of Native American tribes’ behavior can be found in writings of Mary Rowlandson who was caught by them during their raid and traveled alongside them for some time. In her Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration, she describes how they disemboweled and stripped people naked and killed children, but on other occasions respected faith and showed good manners and understanding. In her travels, she recalls numerous mistreatments and violence towards captives but also episodes of fair treatment. For example, Rowlandson was allowed to bury her deceased daughters and even offered a copy of the Bible. Rowlandson also writes that no Indian ever tried to approach her in immoral ways (Rowlandson 269). Therefore, despite being fierce and merciful in battle, Indians displayed qualities of decent fellow-humans.

The early settlers being mostly passionate believers and humble God servants still had feelings and desires strong enough to be called sensual. Manifestations of eroticism towards other people were considered rather sinful in the Puritan doctrine. Given that, feelings of equal nature but aimed at loving and worshiping God were more than justified and avidly practiced. The use of strong, passionate language in the description of their feelings towards Jesus Christ was not prohibited and often exercised. The affection for God, heaven, and Jesus that Jonathan Edwards vividly expresses with words and collocations like ‘vehement,’ ‘sweet delight,’ ‘sweet burning,’ ‘ardour,’ and other can be an evidence of such practice (Edwards 359-360). Thus, it can be concluded that sensuality was present in early American God-worshipping settlers and colorfully articulated.

Works Cited

Mather, Cotton. “The Wonders of the Invisible World.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, edited by Nina Baym, Robert S. Levine, Donnelley & Sons, 1980, pp. 327-340.

Rowlandson, Mary. “Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, edited by Nina Baym, Robert S. Levine, Donnelley & Sons, 1980, pp. 256-288.

Edwards, Jonathan. “Personal Narrative.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, edited by Nina Baym, Robert S. Levine, Donnelley & Sons, 1980, pp. 358-368.

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