Thomas Walker-American Literature

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Following Eunice’s capture and continued captivity within the Abenaki tribe she had a number of opportunities to return to her original family. However, both times as an adult and as a child she refused. She declined as she had lost confidence with her original culture and had grown up and developed into a product of the environment she was brought up in. She remained unredeemed as in essence she had lost her family physically and mentally from when they were captured.

All her life she had seen her father as a strong dominating character that people respected and listened to as Demos described, “This great leader of the “Bastonnais”, this favourite of God. “. His opinions were deemed to be very important and he expressed the view that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was to be a charitable project and that through his strength he was immigrating for selfless means to help these Indians. This can also be seen in the arrogant seal of the colony in which there’s a stereotypical Indian saying “Come over and help us.

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” John Williams himself also speaks of the strength of the puritans saying that they were, “… strong people steadfast in their faith, tested by terrible adversity. ” However, although John Williams dictates all this strength, physically he has very little. Demos expresses this when on the journey from Deersfield Eunice, “At first she had clung to him tightly, as a squirrel clings to a tree, but weak as he was, and clumsy on his snow shoes, he could not walk for the two of them.

” Here Eunice needs to be carried but John Williams cannot hold her due to his physical weakness instead a large and strong Indian carries her easily. This lasting impression on a young child demonstrates her shame of her father’s weakness as she recognises the Indians mocking him. Eunice also remembers one of the last times in which she had seen her father when she was still a small child “… feeling scared and strange, and gripped inside by the ties of her old life. She had begged him then to take her away, but he had failed her utterly.

” This again demonstrates the disappointment she felt towards her father and the abandonment from her family encouraging her to remain with the Indians as she felt she had no family and like any small child she required love and stability, the latter of which only the Indians could supply. Similarly she not only lost confidence in her father but she also completely lost her mother to death. The captives were foot marched 300 miles from their home in arduous conditions. Unsurprisingly this led to many infants and women suffering.

As another sign of strength the Indians would mercifully slaughter the weak so as to continue at a fast pace. This further emphasises the contrast in strength and weakness between the Indians and the captives. It can be argued that this traumatic stage could have encouraged Eunice to fall into a depression and by forgetting her heritage, language and culture then she could escape the pain of losing her mother and family as a whole. Her mother was very important to Eunice as to any child.

This again became important when Eunice was an adult and her father again wanted to meet her. Schulyer implores her to go home and see her family and find her roots again. Even though she understands she refuses and her husband suggests that this is due to her fathers marriage to Abigail Bissell, the first cousin of his late wife, in September 1707. As Demos describes “Faithless, forgetful father: protector who could not protect, comforter who would not comfort, caretaker who did not care.


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