Thus with the help of a politically and religiously motivated clergy and a public "primed," so-to-speak, by their own cultural baggage, then motifs of Indian cannibalism and infanticide so prevalent in Puritan captivities became standardized in captivity accounts and in American culture.
As Levernier and Cohen argue, many captivities were designed to "horrify audiences into hating" the Indian, who "is painted as so irredeemably brutish that he deserves to be deprived of his lands."(12)
In fact, the stories that so captured Apess's young imagination were either about locations much further west or were reprints of captivities
of at least one hundred years earlier.