Tales Of Two Colonial Women Essay Research

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Tales Of Two Colonial Women Essay, Research Paper Exceptional and strong women of their time period, Mary Rowlandson and Sarah Kemble Knight have many similarities and differences. Religion and life style are both strongly reflected in their writings, and at the same time cause them to have distinctly different reactions to a variety of situations. Although Rowlandson and Knight encounter different experiences, they show remarkable characteristics that are essential in transcending their difficulties. Mary Rowlandson was a devout person and an exceptional woman of her time period. She was born in 1636 and died in 1678. On a February morning, an Indian raiding party carried her and her three children away. She wrote a book describing her captivity, and it became one of the

most widely read books of the seventeenth century. The writings have both spiritual and physical significance. Her style of factual captivity narrative became one of the most imitated during her time, and remained popular for close to 200 years. Mary Rowlandson made insightful observations into the lifestyle of the Puritans, which in turn causes her to be an exceptional woman of her time. In contrast, Sarah Kemble Knight was a secular woman; consequently, she still appeals to people today. She was born in 1669 and died in 1727. During her husband’s time abroad, Knight ran a boarding house, taught school, and assisted with some legal matters, proving herself an independent and self-reliant woman. In the fall of 1704 she set out on a journey to settle a family estate in New York.

In that era, travel for a woman was rare because of the unsafe and uncomfortable conditions. She wrote a diary of her journey, which was worldly in contrast with most of the writing of the time period. Subsequent to her journey her husband died, and she moved to New London, Connecticut with her daughter. There, she ran a shop and an inn that were successful. Sarah Kemble Knight was an independent and successful woman. Mary Rowlandson and Sarah Kemble Knight have contrasting beliefs in God; therefore, the way religion is reflected in their writing is different. Mary Rowlandson, a strict Puritan whose world revolves around God, has a theological approach to her writing, and it is more of a religious account. On the other hand, Sarah Kemble Knight did have religious convictions;

however, they are not as pervasive as those of a Puritan. Rather, she has a practical approach to her writing and gives a more worldly account with secular views about life. For example, while Rowlandson persistently alludes to the Bible, Knight tends to utalize classical literature, such as when she refers to the Greek God Apollo, the sun God, who pulled the sun across the sky in a chariot drawn by horses. “Now was the glorious luminary with his swift coursers arrived at his stage, leaving poor me with the rest of this part of the lower world in darkness, with which we were soon surrounded.” (33) In contrast, Rowlandson directly quotes Jacob’s lament in Genesis: “I had one child dead, another in the wilderness the third they would not let me come near to: ‘Me (as he

said) have ye bereaved my Children, Joseph is not, and Simon is not, and all these things are against me.’” (27) It is the nature of the Puritans to believe that every event that occurs has significance relating to God or to the Bible. As these examples demonstrate, Mary Rowlandson’s and Sarah Kemble Knight’s varying degrees of devotion affect their writing in a significant way. Like their religious convictions, the upbringing of Rowlandson and Knight also greatly affects their writing. Mary Rowlandson is raised at an earlier time and in a strict Puritan atmosphere. Moreover, her husband is the congregational minister of Lancaster. Conversely, Knight is born at a later time when Puritanism has begun to fade, and she has fewer religious ties. Her husband wasn’t