Conflict is a word with many meanings; all of which are demonstrated in “The Unredeemed Captive” written by John Demos. Conflict is not only demonstrated by the raids by the French and Indians on British villages and the War between the British and the French, but also by the cultural and religious differences between the Native Americans, the French, and the English. The evidence provided in this paper will surely demonstrate why the word conflict is best used to describe the contact amongst the various European and Amerindian cultures in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
In the Demos book, the attacks by the French and Indians against towns along the Maine Frontier1, is the first conflict we are introduced to. These attacks do not directly impact the village of Deerfield, but in response to those attacks “they make what preparations they can.”2 The preparations the residents make are in directed to prevent an attack they know will eventually happen. The citizens of Deerfield shore up a fort that until this time has been left in a state of disrepair. Within months the raiding parties attack Deerfield bringing the citizens into a physical conflict between the French and Indians and the British. The action against the citizens will have a direct impact their lives, causing a long-lasting change in their views of their own security as well as the emotional impact suffered by the families from the loss of life and the capture of loved ones. The different cultures of the conflicting parties will also lend cause to the friction already chaffed by the raids. .
One cultural difference, immediately brought to the attention of the captives is the way they are forced to live, like the Indians, on their trip from Deerfield to Canada. Their captors use only what nature provides, wherever they happen to stop along their trip northward. The “survival-in-the-wilderness” tactics of wigwams and beds of spruce branches to lie down3 on are extremely different from the warm, pre-designed buildings with beds and fireplaces the captives are used to sheltering themselves in at night.