A Comparison and Contrast of the
Supernatural's Active Role in the
Lives of Mary Rowlandson and Benjamin Franklin
The literature written during this time period reflects
the important part the supernatural (God) played during
those changing times. The new world was struggling for a new
identity. Were these individuals also defining the role of
God to themselves?
In the preceding discussion the lives of Mary
Rowlandson and Benjamin Franklin will be discussed. Each
wrote a narrative of their life experiences. There are
marked contrasts and comparisons between these two
individuals related to their perceptions of God.
Religion was a vital part of life in colonial America.
A shift from theism to deism was occurring. The Puritans of
this time were fleeing the Church of England. Their hope was
to return to the more primitive ways, to reject the churches
hierarchy and ritual.
Mary Rowlandson, a puritan in Lancaster, Massachusetts
was captured by Indians, along with three of her children in
the year 1676.
In her narrative she relates the story of
her survival in the wilderness for a period of three months.
She is taken away from her home and husband, 'all was gone
(except my life); and I knew not but the next moment that
might go too' (127).
Benjamin Franklin's The Autobiography is an account of
his life and begins with his boyhood life in Boston. He
later flees to Philadelphia to escape his brother's rule
over him. He relates how he was 'dirty', 'fatigu'd', and
'Want of Rest' (222).
In these depictions we can see an analogy. These
individuals are removed from their homes and families.
Although Benjamin Franklin's removal was of his own free
will. They each suffered as they no longer had the comforts
of which they were accustomed.
Rowlandson's faith was...