The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

Rowlandson's Depiction of Native Americans in The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

Mary Rowlandson’s The Sovereignty and Goodness of God recounts her experience of being captured by a group of Native Americans. Rowlandson’s description of this trek is highly subjective and reflects her personal beliefs as well as the values of the time period. This is especially clear to the reader in her descriptions of the Native Americans and their practices. Rowlandson portrays the Native Americans as an uncivilized people who have no claim to the land they occupy. She accomplishes this by dehumanizing them through her descriptions and by presenting them as a “savage” and “heathen” people. This is a clear reflection on her religious beliefs and from this one can infer that Rowlandson thought that the Puritan belief system was the only “true” way to live life and that Native Americans had no part in “civil” society.

One of the foremost ways that Rowlandson shows her belief that Native Americans are not fit for civil society is by metaphorically casting them as wild animals and thereby dehumanizing them. An example of this comes early in the account (after the initial attack where she is captured) as Rowlandson describes seeing “…so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a company of Sheep...

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