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In Rowson’s Charlotte Temple and Rowlandson’s The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, ignorance plays a big role in the character developments and trials they face. Although Rowson and Rowlandson wrote in different time periods and their main characters faced different trials, both novels indicate that ignorance of any kind can have a detrimental impact on someone’s life.
Rowson wrote a novel about a young girl Charlotte and her downfall when mentoring a malevolent woman and aquanting herself with a British soldier. Charlotte is a very naive and ignorant girl who is only just now seeing the interest that males have in her. Montraville is the first known guy to show her interest and seduction, so it is natural for her to be ignorant about these situations. At first, she realizes that she should not be infatuated with someone of his kind but when under the influence of Madame La Rue who is a character of jealousy and bad reputation, she doesn’t know how to deal with it. Her ignorance leads her to make irrational decisions and, in the end, leads to her death. The narrator declares, “The mind of youth eagerly catches at promised pleasure: pure and innocent by nature, it thinks not of the dangers lurking beneath those pleasures, till too late to avoid them”. Rowson seems to add general statements like this to be sure to reach all females reading this. It is talking about the ignorance of females in this time period. It was very common for women to jump into relationships at a young age and have to deal with consequences later in life. This is an important topic because it was not only prevalent then but still a very important topic to bring awareness in today’s society.
Montraville, the lead male character of the novel, is a very confident person until around the end of the novel when he sees charlotte struggling but wants to marry another woman. He realizes that he acted on impulse and was ignorant to the idea that what he could potentially be doing could create a horrible outcome. He meets another woman and is having an internal battle with himself about going back to Charlotte who is severely depressed. Montraville gives insight to his inner thoughts when he shares, “I am now too late convinced my attachment to her was merely the impulse of the moment,” and this is an important part in the story because he is finally realizing that what he did was wrong. However, his uncertainty and hesitancy about going back to Charlotte created even more havoc than if he were to just marry another. Charlotte is very depressed and ill because Montraville could not make up his mind about which marriage to pursue. The lesson of ignorance is important here because the reader is able to see the inside workings of the mainly hated character. The reader needs to understand that ignorance can not only affect us but other people as well. Just like Montraville killed Charlotte slowly, we too can hurt someone with such impact that it can be damaging to those closest to. We need to understand that if we are uneducated or ignorant about something, we need to think things through and then take action. Jumping into something and making assumptions will only lead to a negative outcome.
In Rowlandson’s novel, ignorance also plays a role in her survival. When she is captured by the Native Americans, she is completely ignorant to their culture. Because of this she had gone through many trials to survive, some of which consist of food and way of life. Mary does not know when she will eat next and is starved for most of her story. She is ignorant in survival and shows this through her stubbornness not to eat the Native’s food. Throughout her narrative, Mary uses Bible verses to help explain her inner thoughts and when she highlights Proverbs 27:7 which quotes “for the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet,” we can partially understand her desperate need for food and ignorance to another way of life. This bible verse is very interesting to use because she went from not having to scavenge to only surviving this way. Her ignorance led her to be more of a taker and not a giver which is changing her complete personality because she became frantic to survive. A lot of the time when we are ignorant about something, we become like this too and it is important to understand that in order for us to live and protect our health, we need to be educated about the outside world because ignorance will only lead to later hardships.
Both Rowson and Rowlandson acknowledge the negative impact being ignorant can have on a person’s life. Being educated and aware of our surroundings will only benefit us in the end.
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