Captivity is Consciousness –
The country and current ideals of America originated through captivity – both of land and people, further developing through the captive freedom of slavery, and today publicising and advocating freedom as we know it. Each historical era of America celebrates an assortment of publics’ voices through literature, and each new age is parented and inspired by (the works of) the past. Captivity and freedom are two opposing contraries of America, and many a concerned author touched on these themes throughout the stages of American growth.
I have chosen two writers who intrigued their communities: one as the author of the first US bestseller , while the second as a strange spinster in white. Both of these writers had strong opinions and stimuli encouraging the exploration of numerous issues in literature and society, and in this essay I will explore the ways Mary Rowlandson and Emily Dickinson dealt with the themes of captivity and freedom. These writers were physically subjected to both of these themes throughout the duration of their lives, and their work not only deals with these themes, it is product of them and how they conditioned both writers. I will refer to a number of texts authored by them to strengthen my observation.
The noun ‘captivity’ is defined as ‘the condition of being imprisoned or confined’ , and Mary Rowlandson primarily suffered her loss of freedom through being taken captive by Algonquian Indians, and held hostage in their midst for the duration of “eleven weeks and five days”, before being restored to her husband for a fee of £20. Her only text ‘A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings and Removes of Mrs Mary Rowlandson’ was first published in 1682, six years after her release, and was the only written record of the...