Category Archives: Captivity Narratives

A Captivating Adventure

Posted by:  EJ

In the captivity narratives folder of the blog there are five blog posts. Between these five posts there are 18 comments. When you combine all of this text it is the equivalent of 18 typed pages.

These 18 pages contain truly original content – ideas we created because we thought they were worth discussing. So what better way to conclude this chapter in the Known World than to revisit these ideas we deemed so important and see if there is one theme that will unite them.

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Hannah: A woman trying to live in a man’s world

Posted by: Kristi

Gabriel plays little role in Hannah’s day-to-day life, yet his character creates a large impact on her life. She changes her life for him, and adapts her desires sometimes in combination with his. Hannah, I think, is the only woman who desires change in this novel. Men, often want change or change themselves to match other men in the Company. The common occurrences of copying in this novel seem strange to me because they’re all in a new land, yet they still choose to all be exactly the same. Continue reading

Why Hannah?

Posted by Christina.

Beigh Masters has “devoted eleven years” to the study “of a [single] person”—Hannah Easton Fitch Legge, an interesting but relatively obscure woman dead for three centuries (138). Hannah began as a footnote to Beigh’s search for the elusive Emperor’s Tear, but quickly became her main obsession.

Hannah predicted that “her life would reside in other people’s stories” (199).  Beigh is both a captive audience and compiler of them.  Although they are distantly related, something beyond blood motivates Beigh to assume the task of learning Hannah’s history and perpetuating her memory.  Perhaps, just as Hannah was captivated by the new, “brilliantly hued world[s]” she found herself in, Beigh admiringly views Hannah’s life as a “richer life” than her own (171, 222). Continue reading

The White “Woman’s” Burden?

Mary Jemison     Posted by Allison

A young American girl was captured by Indians and lost her family, while knowing it was her very captors that murdered the people she loved most. She had neither knowledge of the language the murderous strangers spoke nor friend to share the burden of suffering… Mary Jemison knew loneliness. She was adopted into the Seneca tribe by her Indian “sisters” shortly after her captivity and was thrust into a world in which she knew nothing. Mary acclimated herself to the ways of the tribe and little by little, began to accept her new identity. Over time and throughout her narrative, Mary recounts her life in “captivity.” But was she really a captive all those years? Continue reading

Struggling to Survive

Posted by Quinn.

Sarah Wakefield’s captivity was both a tragic and overwhelming experience for her. For six weeks, she and her two young children, James and Nellie, lived with Native Americans of the Sioux tribe.  Wakefield endured numerous struggles including starvation, separation, as well as other things including being pursued by a ruthless Indian named Hapa. So one of the most important questions to ask is, how were Wakefield and her two children able to survive? All around her, other white captives were being murdered left and right, but not her. Men and women are getting slaughtered, but for some reason she is spared. How come? Why was she lucky? Why did she survive? Wakefield should have been one of the first to go. She had an infant on her back and held her boy by the arm. Wakefield was an easy target, yet she lived to tell her tale. How is this so? Continue reading

Tough Love

Posted by Adam.

Mary Rowlandson, an innocent preacher’s wife, is swept up into the captivity of the ever-savage Indians and is taken off into the wilderness, ready to kill herself before she has to live in that condition.  Rowlandson, a devout Christian, couldn’t stand the “roaring, and singing, and dancing, and yelling of those black creatures in the night, which made the place a lively resemblance of hell” (Rowlandson, 14).  But, she complains much more than she actually explains the customs.  Was this a ritual practice after a successful raid, or simply heathens worshipping the devil? Rowlandson doesn’t care to say.  However, she makes it very apparent that she is following the scripture, and is the one favored by God, as in Daniel and the lions.  These Indians seem purely evil, raiding towns and snatching away women and children.  Apparently they even did this without much reason for doing so, because of course, those perfect Christians never did anything wrong to warrant such atrocious, uncivilized behavior, right? Continue reading