January 16, 2007
Increase Mather and Mary Rowlandson
1) Increase Mather and the writing of history
The most remarkable element of both narratives is each text’s staunch refusal to mask truth. Increase Mathers states in his address to the reader that “History is indeed in itself a profitable study.” Among those other versions of truth, the supposed false truths which inspires Mathers to write in the first place, Mathers’ account of King Philips War is rife with bias and poorly concealed propaganda. On the first day of class, we spoke at length about cultural works and the agendas behind them. Even without expressly conceding that his own work must therefore be a reflection of an agenda, Mathers implies that he, the “righteous,” because of his religiosity, is of an authority to do so. Really, his blatant disregard for the truths of his fellow historians amazes me. Nevertheless, I understand how Mathers might be completely justified in his interpretation of history’s truths. History profits the silent nothing. In his writing Mathers figures he and his fellow white man to be of a paternal nature both literally and figuratively. He writes about Indian “mischief,” a hallmark of juvenile behavior, and “the terror of God,” the divine father. In this model, white America’s duty is to discipline and to silence the Natives. White America achieves this, literally, with war and, figuratively, through Mather’s writings.
Here is the link to my artifact. From what I understand, Philip himself is the author of this poem.
Mather’s opening of his brief history of war is succinct. He thinks that he is the historian of the situation by claiming he wants to present...