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From Pilgrims to Progress. Preparing for the Penny Dreadful Project Mrs. Hinton English 10 Montevallo High School. Read “A Narrative of the Captivity”. Question 1: What is the historical connection between Metcomb’s raids and Mary Rowlandson’s story?

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From Pilgrims to Progress

Preparing for the Penny Dreadful Project

Mrs. Hinton

English 10

Montevallo High School


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Read “A Narrative of the Captivity”

Question 1: What is the historical connection between Metcomb’s raids and Mary Rowlandson’s story?

Question 2: Is Mary Rowlandson’s side of the story a reliable sense of what really happened?

Question 3: If a Native American were to tell the story of the same incident, would their

stories be the same?


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Biblical Allusion

Definition – Allusion is simply a reference. Mary Rowlandson makes references (or allusions) to the Bible.

How many Biblical allusions can you find in the story?

Write three Biblical allusions she uses. (5 min.)


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What is a tabloid?

  • A tabloid is a newspaper industry term which refers to a smaller newspaper format per spread; to a weekly or semi-weekly alternative newspaper that focuses on local-interest stories and entertainment, often distributed for free);

  • or to a newspaper that tends to emphasise sensational crime stories, gossip columns repeating scandalous innuendos about the personal lives of celebrities and sports stars.

    (Wikipedia)


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What is a captivity narrative?

  • American Indian captivity narratives, stories of men and, particularly, women of European descent who were captured by Native Americans, were popular in both America and Europe from the 17th century until the close of the American frontier late in the 19th century. Mary Rowlandson's memoir A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson is a classic example of the genre. (Wikipedia)


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Are captivity narratives historical?

American captivity narratives were often based on true events, but they frequently contained fictional elements as well, and some were entirely fictional, created because the stories were popular. As a result, historians treat captivity narratives with caution, and many of them are regarded more as folklore or ideology than history. (Wikipedia)


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What is a captivity narrative?

According to Richard Slotkin, "In [a captivity narrative] a single individual, usually a woman, stands passively under the strokes of evil, awaiting rescue by the grace of God. The sufferer represents the whole, chastened body of Puritan society; and the temporary bondage of the captive to the Indian is dual paradigm-- of the bondage of the soul to the flesh and the temptations arising from original sin, and of the self-exile of the English Israel from England.

In the Indian's devilish clutches, the captive had to meet and reject the temptation of Indian marriage and/or the Indian's "cannibal" Eucharist.

To partake of the Indian's love or of his equivalent of bread and wine was to debase, to un-English the very soul. The captive's ultimate redemption by the grace of Christ and the efforts of the Puritan magistrates is likened to the regeneration of the soul in conversion.

The ordeal is at once threatful of pain and evil and promising of ultimate salvation. Through the captive's proxy, the promise of a similar salvation could be offered to the faithful among the reading public, while the captive's torments remained to harrow the hearts of those not yet awakened to their fallen nature" (Regeneration Through Violence)


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What was the purpose?

  • Religious expression

  • Justification of westward expansion

  • Nineteenth-century: cultural symbol of American national heritage

  • Popular literature

  • Reinforcement of stereotypes

    a. Spanish: Indians as brutish beasts  b. French: Indians as souls needing redemption  c. English in Virginia: innocent exotics  d. Puritans: Satanic threat to religious utopia


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Themes

  • Fears of cannibalism

  • Fears of scalping

  • Hunter-predator myth: captive is caught between savagery and civilization

  • Judea capta, for Puritans: Israel suffering under Babylonian captivity. (include Biblical allusion)

  • Freudian view: captivity becomes adoption (Puritan/Indian friendship development)

  • Myths

    a. Myth of Love in the Woods

    (Pocahontas and John Smith) b. Myth of Good Companions in the Wilderness

    (Cooper's Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook)


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Pattern of the captivity narrative

  • Separation: attack and capture

  • Torment, ordeals of physical and mental suffering

  • Transformation (accommodation, adoption)

  • Return (escape, release, or redemption)


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NOW

Imagine you are a Puritan in 1677 who was captured during King Phillip’s War. You remained captive for five days before release. Write a journal that graphically describes each day of your horrific ordeal – starting with your capture until your release.


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