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Characteristics of puritan literature

Introduction to Puritan Literature for American Literature

Kevin Casey

on 28 August 2014

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Transcript of Characteristics of puritan literature

The purity of the Bible.
Living what the Bible says.
Everything that happens is God's will.
"to them, the world was an arena where God and Satan constantly fought."
In being highly educated in order to understand God's word and His will better.
People are pre-destined to be something according to God's will. (FATE)
Questions we will answer today:
Who are Puritans?
What are the characteristics
of Puritan Literature?
What are themes of Puritan literature?
Age of Faith
1600-1750 America
Group of people who sought to "purify" the Church of England. A church they believed was corrupt.
wished to return to simple forms of worship as described in the new testament.
Non-conformists who practiced their faith in secret while in England.
Immigrated to America at the beginning of the 1600s to establish a new land and government based on their beliefs.
Took it upon themselves to punish others who threatened their way of life (Salem Witch Trials)
Who are the Puritans?
What did the Puritans believe?
What was sinful to them?
Reading Fiction
Music (except in church)
diary entries
biblical allusions
simplistic writing style--no imagery or figures of speech.
certain in their beliefs
many small details
historical accounts
purpose of writing is to document history and reveal the glory of God.
long sentences, very plain.
lack of emotional attachment in tone of writing.
religious focus of the everyday life
"singular regard to tell the simple truth in all things."
What are the characteristics of Puritan Literature?
Life as a test from God
Failure leads to damnation
Success leads to heavenly bliss
Puritan Values (Self Reliance, Industry, temperance, Simplicity)
What were the themes of Puritan literature?
God's will?
Divine Providence
Every individual is guided by God's will and plan. BUT...people have the ability to reject his plan.
a person's fate was determined by God.
a person could do nothing to be saved.
those who were wealthy thought they were blessed by God
Doubt??? "How did one know if they were saved or not?"
a person could feel the grace of God arriving by speaking in tongues OR by outward appearance
People often examined their inner lives closely for signs of "grace"
What is the big idea?
Literature reflects the values of the people who live in society.
Let's pause to think: What does puritan literature teach us about their society? Why should we care?
Literature teaches us about society
Puritans were all about keeping things simple, so their literature is very straightforward
Example: In Winthrop's sermon, "City Upon a Hill", the author simply tells us why being Puritan is beneficial. He clearly outlines the value of their beliefs.
Puritans believed that religion was the greatest form of expression
Example: All of their literature centers on religious themes.
Puritans believed that they should be self reliant
Example: in "city upon a Hill": Winthrop argues that Puritans need to stick together, to become as one man
Puritans believed in the value of hard work
Example: Puritans had to work hard! The demands of living in a new unsettled land, made this a necessity
Puritan Literature reflects Puritan society!!
Puritans, like all people, wrote about what they knew; their writing style and the subjects they chose to write about are indicative of the things they thought were important.
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