The Stories of Captivity

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Date Submitted: 08/01/2011 03:01 AM

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The stories of captivity


Captivity narratives emerged with the settlement of North America and continued as a significant genre in American literature until the closing of the frontier at the end of the nineteenth century. The first captivity narratives may have been created by Native Americans who were captured by early Spanish explorers. However, the genre commonly refers to the accounts written by European settlers who were abducted by Native Americans. Many scholars cite Captain John Smith's General History of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles (1624) as containing the first American captivity narrative. The term refers to a standalone captivity narrative genre of American literature that the experiences of white settlers in North America, mostly women, in Indian captivity portray. Captivity narratives were in the 17 Century a considerable influence on both the autobiographical literature as well as later on the American novel (Pearce, 47).

Comparing and Contrasting the Three Stories of Captivity Narrative

Captivity of Mary Rowlandson

Since the publication, of Mary Rowlandson’s, Sovereignty and Goodness of God ..., released six years after the close of King Philip’s War and the death of the Pokanoket leader, Metacomet, in 1682, the Indian captivity narrative has operated as a widely influential component of American literary, historical, and cultural discourse. From the seventeenth century to present, the metaphors, symbols, and the implicit ideologies of this literary genre have had a powerful and enduring influence on the public’s perception of American Indian people, and the development of an expansionist American ideology. As a result, the operant binary of the bloodthirsty “savage” and the “civilized” Euro- American has become a common feature of discourses in which American Indian people have been, and continue to be, represented in American historiography, literature, art, film, and popular culture, while...