Summary Of Captivity By Karen Louise Erdrich

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Louise Erdrich’s “Captivity” (1989) comments on a European woman that dreams about the time she was held captive by a man in a tribe of Native Americans. The poet is drawn between two cultures herself giving her an advantage to accurately portray the persona of the poem (Kelly 114). “Captivity” is thought to be an occasional poem in reference to the kidnapping of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, who was taken from her home by the Wampanoag when they destroyed Lancaster, Massachusetts (Erdrich 115-17). Erdrich’s background, criticism from peers, and the dramatic situation assists us in drawing conclusions and comprehending what the speaker of the poem felt during her time held in captivity. Karen Louise Erdrich was born on June 7, 1954 in Little Falls, …show more content…

The speaker appears to be fearful of becoming like her captor, yet the audience can identify the sense of familiarity she relates toward him because she “…had grown to recognize his face. / I could distinguish it from others” (lines 5-6). The persona of the poem felt as if though knowing anything about her captor’s heritage was committing a form of sin and so she “…knelt down to pray for strength” (line 9). The author writes “Captivity” with a tone that displays conflicting emotions. The speaker appears to be fearful of the unknown because of being uprooted from what she knew before. Yet, there is no mention of verbal or physical abuse from the captor. The audience also asks themselves why the woman would be dreaming of that time in her life when she now has a husband that “…drives a thick wedge through the earth…” and her “…child is fed of the first wheat” (lines 40-41, 43). However, by this time, she has lost all sense of her own heritage and “…see[s] no truth in things” (line 39). The persona tells her own story and as the audience reads it, it is not hard to see that there are some conflicting emotions in the mist of the dramatic situation. It seems as if the character is having a “what if” moment about the

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