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University of North Carolina Press


In the introductory segment of her captivity narrative, before the story becomes structured into a series of "removes," Mary Rowlandson succinctly states her purpose: "that I may the better declare what happened to me during that grievous Captivity" (121). Throughout the succeeding twenty removes, this middle-aged Puritan woman-the wife of a minister and the daughter of the wealthiest original landowner in Lancaster, Massachusetts- records her experience during the eleven weeks and five days she spent as a captive among the New England Indians. Her narrative begins with the extraordinarily violent Indian attack on her home, a scene she describes with emotion and in detail. At the end of the narrative, after she is ransomed from her captors, Rowlandson looks forward to the reunion of her family and the reintegration of that family into the Puritan community. But here Rowlandson's tone becomes one of reflective calm and her language one of generalized conclusion. The detailed explication, even the narrative interest, that informs her introduction is absent from the potentially moving scene of domestic and cultural restoration.


Copyright © 1993 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher.



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