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Introduction to American Literature
Transcript of Introduction to American Literature
saved by the grace of God if you could feel this grace arriving. The inner arrival of God's grace was demonstrated by your outward behavior.
2. After receiving grace you were "reborn" as a member the community of saints and you behave like a saint. -Puritan values and beliefs:
human beings are sinful by nature.
salvation belongs to the elect, or God's chosen.
hard work and worldly success are signs of God's grace.
education is essential in order to read the word of God.
A person should thrifty, modest, and simple.
society should be ruled by covenants parallel God's covenant with His people. Puritan Politics: Government by Contract -Puritan view: a covenant, or contract existed between God and humanity only. -Believed that people should enter freely into agreements concerning their government. On the Mayflower, the Puritans composed and signed the Mayflower Compact, outlining how they would be governed. In this use of a contractual agreement, they prepared the ground for American constitutional democracy. The Bible in America -Puritans read the Bible as the story of the creation, fall, wanderings, and rescue of the human race. -Each Puritan was trained to see life as a pilgrimage, or journey, to salvation. -Puritans believed that the bible was the literal word of God. -Diaries and histories were important forms of Puritan literature, because they were records of the workings of God. Characteristics of Puritan writing:
Plain style like the Geneva Bible
stressed clarity of expression
avoided complicated figures of speech The Age of Reason: Tinkerers and Experimenters -Called the Age of Reason or Enlightenment -Began in Europe with philosophers and scientists in the 17th and 18th centuries who called themselves rationalists. -Rationalism: the belief that human beings can arrive at truth by using reason, rather than by relying on the authority of the past, on religious faith, or on intuition (remember, puritans believed that that God was actively and mysteriously involved in the workings in the universe.) -Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727): Rationalist that compared God to a clock maker . He created the perfect mechanism of this universe, then left it to run on its own like a clock. -Believed that God's gift to humanity was reason--the ability to think in an ordered, logical, manner. Aloud people to discover both scientific and spiritual truth. Deism: Are People Basically Good? -Rationalists thought it unlikely that God would chose to reveal himself only at particular times to particular people. It seemed more reasonable to believe that God had made it possible for ALL people at ALL times to discover natural laws through their God-given power of reason. -Deism: believed that the universe was orderly and good. In contrast to the Puritans, deists stressed humanity's goodness. They believed in the perfectibility of every individual through the use of reason. -God's Objective: the happiness of creatures. Because of this the best form of worship was to do good for others. Self-Made Americans -Most literature written in the American colonies during the Age of Reason was rooted in reality. -Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography was the masterpiece of the Age of Reason. Franklin used the autobiographical narrative, a form common in Puritan writing, and took out its religious justification. -This account of the development of the self-made American provided the model for a story that would to told repeatedly.