•  
  •  
 

Class Year

2010

Abstract

The female captivity narrative provides a complex view of colonial American history by recounting the experiences of women captured from their colonial homes by Native Americans. Male editors, often family friends or town ministers, generally compiled the experiences of female captives, and separating the voice of the female captive from influence of the male editor presents a challenge. Puritan captivity narratives in particular demonstrate conflict between attempts by Puritan ministers to impose a unified religious message in the sagas and the captives’ individual experiences, which often contradicted Puritan doctrine. During the early colonial era, ministers’ attempts to promote the Puritan covenant conflicted with the individual salvation testimonies of the female captives. In later narratives, white male editors attempted to impose white cultural values on the female stories, while the captives’ experiences reflected acculturation and integration into Indian society. Female captivity narratives played contradictory roles; while they recorded each captive’s unique experience, male editors often included their own cultural, moral and religious values in the written work.

Share

COinS