John Smith,William Bradford, and Mary Rowlandson encountered numerous dangerous and fatal events due to the new lives they wanted to start in this new world, because of this they have many similarities and differences in their writings. One big similarity was Death, they were surrounded by it. It was as if Death was playing a sick joke with them taking away friends and family, slowly eating at what little hope they had left. In John Smiths “The General History” fifty people had died from starvation and sickness in a matter of only a few months, also later in his writings you read that Indians killed the few men he had left.
When it was his turn to be killed by these Indians he escapes Death, this happens once again while still in Indian custody. This time the Indian Chief’s daughter Pocahontas comes to John’s Rescue when he is about to be killed by the Indians. Death tried twice to kill John Smith and according to John it was God who saved him. In William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation” Death started picking off passengers on the ship headed to Plymouth Plantation one by one they fell like apples from an apple tree. Most people were killed by sickness and disease but there were also other people that died by random events.
One man was believed to be taken by death due to the sins he committed, because of this god had to smite him. In Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative of Captivity Death Led by an Indian raid swept across her towns people swift and ruthless. Some people were captured as prisoners such as Mary Rowlandson and died while being dragged through these thick forests only to be sold as slaves if they made it to their destination, many prisoners were unfortunate and died on the way. Mary Rowlandson ‘s daughter was ill and as more time went on her daughter grew weaker and weaker eventually she was kidnapped by Death.
That was only one of the tragic things they had in common, but there are also things such as their faith in God. In John Smith “The General History” When John is captured the first time by Indians he takes out a compass which saves his life and buts the Indians in awe. At this point John Smith believes that god saved him because God has plans for him and he has much more to accomplish with his life. The second time John Smith’s life is in peril, the Indians are about to bash his brains out when of no where Pocahontas comes screaming and then holds him in her arms.
Once again John feels as if this is a part of God’s plan. In William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation” When people start dieing on the ship William believes that God is smiting them because of their sins. Also when everyone on the ship gets ill except for only a few people he believes that the people that didn’t get sick were a part of God’s plan and they are meant to treat the ill. Also when they get to Plymouth Plantation and start looking for food but have difficulties and they are starving, the Indians come out from the woods and give them food.
At this point William believes that God has played a big part on their success on making it their and making a living. In Mary Rowlandson’s “Narrative of Captivity” When Marys daughter dies she is heart broken but she is also happy that now her daughter is with God. Also Mary quotes phrases from the bible to help her get through the pain and difficulties of her life. One other similarity they all had was encounters with people from the new world, the Native Americans. In John Smiths “The General History” his first encounter with the Indians was not a pleasent one.
His men were killed and then he was used to gain knowledge of their technologies that the Indians had never seen in their lives. Once they knew all they needed to know it was pointless having him around so when they attempted to kill him for the second time they were interrupted by the Chiefs daughter Pocahontas who had just saved John’s life. After this scenario ended a new one began and John and these Indians were now friendly and at peace. In William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation” William’s first encounter with the Indians isn’t a great one at first some of his people are killed.
Eventually when William and his people are at their weakest state the Indians come out of the forest with food, in a act of peace. After all of the bad things that had occurred they eventually started a center of the trade with the Indians from the help of Squanto who was a Indian that could speak English due to him being a slave on a pilgrim boat. Squanto was cause of this alliance between Indians and Pilgrims so this Encounter was a great one. In Mary Rowlandson’s “Narrative of Captivity” her first encounter was a tragic one indeed, she was captured as a prisoner later to be sold as a slave during a raid.
The Indians had come from out of the forests destroying this town as swiftly as possible killing or capturing anyone they could and burning down the small settlement. Although the life she had known and loved had been destroyed do to these Indians she still felt sympathy for these Indians and tried to understand why they did the things they did. All three of these authors shared these three similarities and struggled to survive on this new world full of endless opportunities and all the three of them will for ever be embedded in our culture forever.