“[T]hey, like inhumane creatures, laughed”: Calvinist Humor in A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr.. Autumn Lauzon, Lecturer (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site: http://www.uncp.edu/academics/library

Abstract: A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson may not appear, at first glance, to be an appropriate text for categorization under American humor; however, the humor that emerges from Rowlandson’s often hypocritical actions and descriptions during her captivity align well with what Michael Dunne describes as Calvinist humor. Dunne in Calvinist Humor in American Literature states that one form of Calvinist humor “shows us that other people are fallen from perfection without any necessary recognition that we may be in the same boat ourselves” (1). Rowlandson's situation reflects this form of Calvinist humor because although she criticizes her captors for laughing when she tumbles off a horse, she is completely unaware of her own hypocrisy that results in the modern-day reader also laughing at her.

Additional Information

UNCP Research and Creativity Showcase
Language: English
Date: 2019
American Literature, Captivity Narratives, Calvinist Humor, American Humor
Rowlandson, Mary White, approximately 1635-1711
Dunne, Michael, 1941-

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