At least that’s what I think they said. God is portrayed completely different in this text compared to Mary Rowlandson’s tale. Instead of using God as a crutch, this story portrays God as a beacon of hope. God is the architect of our character’s destruction and is seen as a guide, rather than a tool. The quote that I think nails this message is the excerpt on page 65, “Filled with these ideas I fell on my knees, and thanked God, who had delivered me out of the hand of the wicked, and that now I was in his only” (Winkfield 65). Instead of letting the overwhelming feeling of dread consume her, Winkfield turns her attention to God. She is constantly turning to God for guidance to the point where you start to believe that they are there. This story reminds me of the 2000’s film Cast Away. Winkfield looks to God the same way Tom Hanks looks to Wilson. In this circumstance, Wilson is the one that is causing all of these things to happen in the first place. It makes me laugh a little when reading about how this woman is experiencing being marooned on an island with native people and crying out to God saying thank you. All jokes aside, Winkfield is a strong character because she uses her religion to empower her, rather than do harm onto others. She is experiencing culture shock and chooses to embrace it head on. The presence of God matters to the story because it is one of the character’s primary motivators. It wouldn’t be much of a story if this played out the way Rowlandson’s did. Granted that these are both allegedly real encounters, Rowlandson’s sounds goofy. Clearly we understand that Mary doesn’t like natives, but we are left with no reason to support her and/or care about her. Winkfield on the other hand is exciting to follow and has me wanting more to see the foreseeable conflicts ahead and how that will test her faith.
The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature: A PSU-Based Project by John Galusha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.