Connecting Cultures Through Climax

Connecting Cultures through Climax
In an attempt to interpret Mary Rowlandson’s “The Sovereignty and Goodness of God”, Louis Erdrich writes a poem that digs deep into the text of Rowlandson’s narrative and pulls out an underlying sensual tone, masked beneath a surface text subject to Puritan beliefs and standards. Erdrich suggests through her poem that there was a sexual relationship that Rowlandson had experienced with her Master. Although this idea is controversial, an excerpt from Rebecca Blevins Faery’s “Captivity, Race, and Sex in the Shaping of an American Nation”, supports Erdrich’s interpretation of the underlying sexual implications within Rowlandson’s narrative showing that Erdrich did take many liberties writing the poem, that instead they were based on legitimate ideas expressed by Rowlandson in her narrative.   Faery suggests that Erdrich’s sexualized interpretation of Rowlandson’s experience allows her to express a non-imperialistic motive as well as show how sex can connect cultures.
Faery recognizes that Erdrich’s poem rejects imperialistic viewpoints held by those who assume Native Americans took advantage of their white captives, and suggests instead that Rowlandson and her Master had a consensual sexual experience. For example, In Erdrich’s poem, Rowlandson “t[ells] [her]self that [she] would starve before [she] took food from his hands’ but in fact ‘[she] did not starve.” (lines 20-22). Rowlandson’s decision to take food from her master highlights a key point in Faery’s view of the poem: out of her own will, she complied with her Master, thus eliminating imperialistic ideas that any sexual relationship she possibly had with her master would have been by force. Faery makes clear Erdrich’s desire to portray cultures mixing and conjoining together through erotic connections, rather than creating a barrier between cultures, enhanced through imperialism. Another example of Erdrich’s portrayal of a mutual sexual connection is represented after...