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AMERICAN LITERATURE » PURITAN / COLONIAL PERIOD


PURITAN / COLONIAL PERIOD PURITAN / COLONIAL PERIOD


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Puritan / Colonial Period (1620-1730s)  
  • World View: Trust in God regardless of circumstances.  Brotherly love, belief in the power of the Gospel, did not separate religious life from secular life. 
  • Knowledge: Comes from grace, Scripture (studied original languages, almost all were educated at Oxford or Cambridge). Preached expository sermons to cover all of Bible.  Established Harvard in 1636, education extremely important, first Primer was biblical  
  • Social View:They are the new Israelites in the Promised Land, after exile from Europe  
  • Self Concept: Very conscientious, people of prayer, responsibility, and accountability.   
  • Literary Works: William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation; Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God; Mary Rowlandson, Captivity Narrative; John Smith, romanticized account of Pocahontas; Anne Bradstreet, various poems; Phillis Wheatley, poetry of a grateful Christian slave.  
  • Other Topics and Works: Mayflower Compact, Native American tribal histories, Salem witch trials. 

The Function of Puritan Writers

1. To transform a mysterious God - mysterious because he is separate from the world.

2. To make him more relevant to the universe.

3. To glorify God.

The Style of Puritan Writing

1. Protestant - against ornateness; reverence for the Bible.

2. Purposiveness - there was a purpose to Puritan writing - described in Part II above.

3. Puritan writing reflected the character and scope of the reading public, which was literate and well-grounded in religion.

Common Themes in Early Puritan Writing
1. Idealism - both religious and political.

2. Pragmaticism - practicality and purposiveness.



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Mrs. Goss
McIntosh High School-Fayette County Board of Education