Sunday, February 1, 2015

Shades of Hybridity in Mary Rowlandson's Captivity Narrative

Hybridity happens when two or more cultures collide. This concept was popularized by a man named Homi Bhabha. If you imagine two cultures as circles, one blue and one yellow, Hybridity occurs where they overlap. Equally, that green intersection is a Contact Zone. While a Van Diagram seems sterilized and simple, Contact Zones can be anything but that. A Contact Zone is the physical space where Hybridity happens and cultures clash. Mary Rowlandson is a prime example of these terms. Over the course of eleven weeks, she found herself deep within a contact zone where she struggled to survive.
“On the tenth of February 1675, came the Indians with great numbers upon Lancaster: their first coming was about sunrising; hearing the noise of some guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven,” (Rowlandson P.118)

 This turbulent passage marks the first Contact Zone in Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. The Natives depicted above were reacting with such violence due, partly, to the execution of three tribesmen. However, the English were taking their lands, food was scarce and the English enjoyed bounty brought over from England. To their minds, the English were forcing them to war. To the English mind, the Natives were savages; godless and without culture. 

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