Puritans 1620-1758 Literature in Early America • Early colonists did not call themselves “Americans” until the mid 18th century • Roanoke Island, 1580 • Jamestown, 1607 • Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, 1620 • Puritans founded Mass Bay Colony, 1630 Mass Bay Colony • The Puritans were the center of colonial culture – Found Harvard, 1636 – First colonial press, 1638 – First American published book, 1640 – First colonial newspaper, 1690 Puritan Beliefs Doctrine of the Original Depravity Adam and Eve broke the covenant with God All people were sinners and damned Doctrine of the Elect Predestination – only a select few would go to heaven All sinners must live a holy life – you never knew Being good would not change your damnation Puritan Concepts Supremacy of Divine Will Natural phenomena is the will of God Un-natural events caused by the Devil’s witches Theocracy Government controlled by the church The Devil Puritan Values Education – created America’s first schools Hard Work Family Life Community Service Self-sacrifice The forest is evil and home to the Devil Characteristics of Puritan Writing • The Bible provided a model for Puritan writing – each individual life was a journey to salvation. • They saw a direct connection between Biblical events (allusions) and their own lives. Characteristics of Puritan Writing • They used writing to explore the inner and outer lives for signs of the workings of God. • Diaries and histories were the most common types of literature. • They favored a “plain style” similar to that of the Geneva Bible and stressed clear expressions over complicated figures of speech. William Bradford • 1590-1657 • Of Plymouth Plantation • Described hardships of journey to New World; unshakeable belief in God. • Plain Style of writing few figures of speech or metaphors. Mary Rowlandson • 1636-1678 • A Narrative of Captivity • Story of capture by Native Americans; endured many hardships • Saw her story as reflection of Bible stories of hardship- used allusions to Biblical stories. Anne Bradstreet • 1612-1672 • The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America…By a Gentlewoman in Those Parts • Published in England without her knowledge. • Explores religion and personal relationship with God. • Difference - Use of metaphor in writing. Edward Taylor • 1642-1729 • The Poetical Works of Edward Taylor • Differed from other Puritan writers - use of metaphor in writing. • Explored how his identity was shaped by “God’s Grace”. Huswifery by Edward Taylor Make me, O Lord, thy Spinning Wheel complete. Thy Holy Word my Distaff make for me. Make mine Affections thy Swift Fliers neat And make my Soul thy holy Spool to be. My Conversation make to be thy Reel And reel the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheel. Analysis of “Huswifery” • Examines personal relationship with God. • Shows belief in God’s “grace” and rebirth as a “saint” here on earth. • Differences: Use of metaphor to compare life and self to weaving and spinning wheel avoids the “plain style.” Jonathan Edwards • 1703-1758 • Fire and brimstone imagery. • Helped bring about the Great Awakening. • Tyrannical pastor extreme and strict humans “lowly sinners.” • The last Puritan (Elements of Literature, Fifth Course, 77 ). Works Cited Dolan, Jennifer. Puritan Literature in America. Henry County Schools, McDonaugh, GA. 2001. PPT.