1) Increase Mather, A Brief History. . . .
a. How does Mather position and justify the violence of the war? Describe
the language he uses to refer to the war and its effects on New England
society! How does he construct meaning from experience of violence?
b. How does he cast himself and his act of writing in relation to the events?
What is the meaning of writing history for Mather? What is his role as
2) Mary Rowlandson, Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration . . .
a. The theme of violence
i. What categories of violence can you identify? Who exerts violence
on whom and how?
ii. Is there any reason to the madness? How does Rowlandson make
sense, through writing, of her different experiences of violence?
iii. Is there any consistency to here explanations? Where does here
representation of violence undermine a consistent interpretation of
b. The theme of agency
i. Does the narrator appear as victim or victor? Where does the text
highlight submission (to both God and the captors), and where
does it allow a glimpse of Rowlandson as an active shaper of her
ii. How is the agency Rowlandson experiences during her captivity
related to her agency as author, in writing the account of her
c. The theme of identity
i. Analyze Rowlandson’s rhetoric toward her captors! Does it
change throughout the text?
ii. How does violence contribute to the construction of a colonial,
Puritan identity for Rowlandson and her community
iii. What role does acculturation play for Rowlandson during her
iv. How has her identity changed as a result of captivity?
d. The theme of gender
i. How does Rowlandson’s position as Puritan woman and mother
influence her captivity experience?
ii. How does captivity change or impact her traditional gender roles?
i. What are the purposes of the text
1. for the community?
2. for Rowlandson?
3. for the church?
4. for English conquest of New England?
ii. How do different demands on the text conflict or intersect?
iii. Is Rowlandson a historian of the war? In what sense?