Compare and Contrast Captivity Narratives

1178 words 5 pages
Contrasting and Comparing Captivity Narratives The captivity narrative genre includes writings by or about people captured by an enemy, usually one who is considered by the hostage to be a foreign and uncivilized heathen, and was especially popular in America and England in the seventeenth through late nineteenth centuries. Documents from the time show that between 1675 and 1763, at least 1,641 New Englanders were held in captivity as hostages, though many believe that the numbers are drastically low because of poor record keeping (Vaughan, 53). Regardless of the exact number of hostages, the fact is that thousands of people were profoundly affected by being held captive by the Indians. Some of those people, including Mary Rowlandson, …show more content…

Cabeza de Vaca, though he also benefitted personally by lighter labor and more freedoms, worked as a trader between tribes to the benefit of the Indians he lived with (Cabeza de Vaca 14). Rowlandson was consumed by thoughts of returning to her former life and to her family and prayed for it regularly. It is the one thing, along with her faith, that sustained her and helped her endure. Cabeza de Vaca also was driven to make his way to the Christian people he knew were in the New World. Though sometimes overcome with doubt, they both thanked God and trusted in him throughout their ordeal. Jemison on the other hand, though she missed her birth family, truly became one of the Indians who had taken and held her against her will. She ultimately saw them as kind, generous, athletic, easily satisfied and peaceable when left alone by the colonists. “No people can live more happy than the Indians did in times of peace…” (Seaver). Cabeza de Vaca did not “become” an Indian in the same sense, but lived as one of them out of necessity. He was naked like them, lived in the same homes and ate the same foods, but never considered himself part of a tribe like Jemison did. At the end of the Revolutionary War, the leaders of Jemison’s tribe offered to allow her the option to leave them and return to her own people. Her oldest son encouraged her to leave, and he would go with her


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