The Sovereignty and Goodness of God

by: Mary Rowlandson

Wettimore

Characters Wettimore

One of Quannopin’s three wives, Wettimore is one of the Indians with whom Rowlandson has the most contact. Unfortunately for Rowlandson, Wettimore is proud and vain, with a strong streak of cruelty. Wettimore’s greatest concerns are image and status. She sometimes does not feed Rowlandson well or let her warm herself by the fire, but she complains that she and Quannopin look bad when Rowlandson begs for food or a warm place to sleep at other wigwams. Wettimore is angered by Rowlandson’s faith and piety and her ability to find comfort in the Bible. When Wettimore’s child has died and she returns from its burial to find Rowlandson reading the Bible, she is enraged and throws her Bible to the ground. Wettimore’s short-temperedness appears at other times as well. On the same day, she slaps Rowlandson across the face and tells her to get out of her sight. Though both Rowlandson and Wettimore have lost young children, this does not become a point of sympathy or bonding for them.

Rowlandson casts Wettimore as something of a foil of herself: the two are opposites, and by listing Wettimore’s bad qualities, Rowlandson subtly emphasizes her own positive traits. When describing Wettimore’s daily routine, Rowlandson compares her to wealthy white nobles: Wettimore spends as much time arranging her hair, clothing, and jewelry as the richest of the settlers. Her shallowness shows that savagery and violence are not the Indians’ only negative qualities—vanity in such rugged conditions is ridiculous. Wettimore’s values are opposite to those Christian values that Rowlandson espouses. While Rowlandson learns that worldly treasures have little use or meaning, Wettimore focuses on the superficial trappings of clothing and status.