John Demos: The Unreedeemed Captive

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade August 2001

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In, The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America, the author, John Demos, makes a connection between America and the history of a New England family held captive by the Indians at the time of the French and Indian War. This connection reveals much about the history of America and of our society today. Demos, through a family's story, the Williams, insinuates that America is held captive because of its racial discrimination, and thus America as a captive must be redeemed. His solution for such a problem is a collage of races intermixing in love and in marriage. He simply states in his next to last sentence, "your blood with ours,"� (252) hoping that through intermarriages bound by love, racism will no longer exist in America.

"Historical hindsight,"� (197) allows Demos to piece together the story of John Williams and his family by mentioning specific historical events that occurred during the French and Indian war.

One of these events was the raid on a New England town, Deerfield. Apparently, the English captured a prominent French "privateer"� (16). In order for the French to free their "privateer"� (16), they had to have a prominent English figure, Rev. John Williams to make a prisoner exchange. (15-17) John Williams is crucial to the history of this "story."� Demos suggests that, "his writings conform, then, to "˜Puritan' type, and can be read as a standard piece of the larger canon."� (55) Hence, the history of the Williams can be used to explain how those of that timed lived and what were their "thoughts and feelings behind the event."� (55) He and his "captive brothers and sisters,"� "shared "" the facts of captivity and "˜deliverance' "" perhaps responses were also shared."� (55) His children, Eleazer, Samuel (age fifteen), Ester (thirteen), Stephen, (age nine),