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Question 1: Define Captivity Narrative
The captivity narrative genre is a genre that can include a wide range of literary works
including memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, poems, and almost every other type of literary
Although very diverse, the vast majority of captivity narratives contain a few key
elements which help to define the captivity narrative genre.
Some of these elements include a
captive, a captor, and a conflict surrounding the captivity and within the captivity, and a plot
structure which follows a relatively general, yet uniform format.
While obviously not every
captivity narrative includes all of the above elements, in order to be defined as a captivity
narrative, a narrative must possess most of these elements, and at the very least, it must have a
captive, a captor, and a conflict between the two.
In order to be defined as a captivity narrative, a literary work must have a captive (or
captives) and a captor (or captors).
These are quite possibly the most obvious and recurrent
elements in defining captivity narratives.
Although there exist varying motives for taking
captives, in every captivity narrative, there is some sort of conflict between the two parties,
hence the captivity of one party by the other.
In many captivity narratives, the opposing parties
have major cultural differences.
For example, in all the Indian captivity narratives we have read
thus far, the Anglo and/or Puritan culture has been severely offset by the Indian culture.
story of Mary Rowlandson, the Puritans were at war with the Indians, and considered them to be
morally inferior and savage.
The Indians knew even less about the Puritans than the Puritans
knew about the Indians, and neither culture understood or respected the other.
Both were vying
for the same land, and both were fighting for survival.
This lack of understanding and
commonality between the two cultures is a situation which is recurring in captivity narratives.
the captivity of Hannah Dustan by the Abenaki Indians, not only were there major cultural