LTEN 148 midterm paper

LTEN 148 midterm paper - -1- Question 1: Define Captivity...

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- 1 - 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 work. 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. In the 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. In the captivity of Hannah Dustan by the Abenaki Indians, not only were there major cultural
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- 2 - differences between the two parties, but there were also huge religious differences between them. Among Hannah Dustan’s group, Catholics were considered to be the worst kind of people, and the Abenakis who captured Hannah Dustan were indeed Catholic. In Mary Jemison’s captivity narrative, there is only a short-lived, initial conflict between her (and her family) and the Indians. After Mary Jemison makes a decision to stay with the Indians instead of returning to her home culture, the conflict between herself and the Indians ends, and this, arguably, ends the ‘captivity’ portion of her narrative. Often times, in captivity narratives, there is a greater conflict than just the captivity itself.
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LTEN 148 midterm paper - -1- Question 1: Define Captivity...

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