A group of Protestants who wanted “purity” in the Church of England. Believed that religion was a “personal, inner experience” and that clergy or government could come between God and the individual. Suffered persecution in England. Small group led by William Bradford came to the New World in 1620.
Most of humanity “damned” by sin of Adam and Eve. Select few would be saved. Those people could be identified by their saintly behavior. When God bestowed his grace on them, they were “reborn”. Values: self-reliance, hard-working, moderation, and simple living
Contract or covenant exists between God and humanity. Idea of contract between people and government stems from that idea. Rather undemocratic-felt that the “saintly elect” should have great influence in politics
Characteristics of Puritan Writing
Bible provided model-individual life in a “journey to salvation”. Connection between Biblical events and own lives. Used writing to explore their inner and outer live for signs of God’s work. Diaries and histories were most common. Plain style stressed clear expressions and avoided complicated figures of speech.
Major Authors of Puritan Period
1600s-1800 William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson, Anne Bradstreet, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edward Taylor, Johnathan Edwards, John Smith.
1590-1657. Wrote “Of Plymouth Plantation”. Described hardships of Journey to New World; unshakable belief in God. Plain style of writing-few figures of speech or metaphor
1636-1678. Wrote “A Narrative of Captivity”. Story of capture by Native Americans. Endured many hardships. Saw her story as reflection of Bible stories of hardships-used allusion to Biblical stories.
1612-1672. Wrote “The Tenth Muse”. Published in England without her knowledge. Explores religion and personal relationship with God. Differed from other Puritan writers and use of simple yet educated vocabulary, deep faith, lyrical, and easy to read.
1642-1729. Wrote “The Poetical Works of Edward Taylor”. Explored how his identity was shaped by “God’s Grace”. Differed in that he used metaphorical comparison-first to try in American Poetry. Puritan sermon in poetic form.
1703-1758. Used fire and brimstone imagery. Helped bring about The Great Awakening. Tyrannical pastor- extreme and strict- humans were “lowly sinners”. The last Puritan.
1804-1864. Descendant of Puritans involved in Salem Witch trials. Wrote many short storied and novels. Strong use of symbolism and imagery. Strong religious views. “The Scarlet Letter” was most famous novel.
Characteristic of Literature: polictical writings, writing which formed the building blocks of american identity, Sature rare in popularity, songs and poems were common “Yankee Doodle”
The key figures: Benjamin Franklin- “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, Thomas Paine- “Common Sense”
-theoretical, abstract language
-literal and historical analogies
-factual data and statistics
-citations from experts and authorities
-evokes a cognitive, rationale response
-language appropriate to audience and subject
-restrained, sincere, fair minded presentation
-appropriate level of vocabulary
-demonstrates author’s reliablity, competence, and respect for audience’s ideas and values through reliable and appropiate use of support and general accuracy
-vivid, concrete language
-emotionally loaded language
-narratives of emotional events
-evokes an emotional response
The Scarlet Letter
A novel about Hester Prynne, a woman in seventeenth century New England who is convicted of adultery. At the beginning of the story, she is forced to wear a scarlet letter A on her dress as a sign of her guilt. Hester will not reveal the identity of her partner in adultery. Her husband comes to realize who her lover is and takes revenge on him. Eventually, her dying lover publicly admits his part in the adultery.
see Major Work Data Sheet
story written by Hawthorne (before the gilded age but still applies) that depicts a scientist named Alymer who becomes obsessed with the small hand shaped birthmark on his wife’s face one of his potions eventually kills her. this shows society’s obsession with appearances in the gilded age
see Moment Sheet, story, and quiz
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
A sermon written by Jonathan Edwards (a puritan pastor) about God being angry and condemning non-Christians to Hell. This sermon also expressed the danger of being a non-believer and going to hell. Furthermore, only God’s mercy is keeping the non-believers from their damnation, but God at any time can let the non-believers sink into the fiery pits of Hell.
see story, and rhetorical strategies quiz
A Modest Proposal
Johnathan Swift, main idea: Jonathan Swift uses satire, to present his cruel solution to the rampant poverty in Ireland, and shock the middle and upper classes into taking action. (Eating children)
see essay (pages 914-920) and quiz