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Who's Who - Native American Literature and the Puritans

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Terri Steinmann

on 4 November 2016

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Transcript of Who's Who - Native American Literature and the Puritans

Native American Literature - 1600s
The Native American oral tradition is highly diverse
More than 500 languages and tribal cultures
each tribe has their own religion, government, and oral literature
Although there are differences among individual tribes, there are some common characteristics:
Deep reverence and respect for nature as both a spiritual and natural mother
Characters are generally animals and plants. Often, the living beings are specific to each tribe's homeland
No long, Old World "standardized" narratives

Old World:
Born in Lincolnshire, England
Mercenary soldier in Europe
New World:
Came with settlers to Jamestown. The voyage began in December, 1606 and landed in Jamestown in May, 1607
Settlers were not prepared for the hardships of harsh winters, lack of fresh water, native Algonquin Indian attacks, and disease
Smith attempted to establish peaceful relationships and was captured by Chief Powhatan
Assumed rigid discipline, strengthened defenses, and encouraged farming. Instituted the "no-work, no-eat" policy.
John Smith 1580 - 1631
Born in England and educated privately
Married Simon Bradstreet when she was 16
Came to America with other Puritans to settle the Massachusetts Bay in 1630
One of the first poets to write English verse in American colonies
Wrote poems for herself while raising eight children
Brother-in-law, without her knowledge, took her poems to England where they were published

Anne Bradstreet 1612-1672
Born in England and worked as a teacher
Arrived in Boston in 1668 and entered Harvard as a sophomore. He graduated in 1671
Accepted position as minister and physician in frontier town of Westfield, Massachusetts, walking over 100 miles to his new position
Westfield was a farming community troubled by battles with Native Americans
Life was filled with personal tragedy; his first wife died young, he remarried and lost five of eight children in infancy
Edward Taylor 1642-1729
Born in Connecticut
Greatest theologian and philosopher of Puritanism
Stimulator of religious revival known as "Great Awakening"
Father and grandfather were ministers
Graduated from Yale College in 1720, MA in 1723
Became assistant to grandfather at a church in Northampton and took over the pulpit when grandfather died
Jonathan Edwards 1703 - 1758
In the winter of 1692, the tiny parish of Salem Village experienced the beginning of what would eventually be called the Salem Witch Trials.
Life was harsh for the colonists. They attributed these hardships - death, disease, bad weather, attacks by Native Americans - to the Devil.
Betty Parris, 9 year-old daughter of Salem's reverend, began experiencing convulsions, seizures, crying fits, and lapses into unconsciousness. Soon, her 13 year-old cousin Abigail began experiencing the same.


The Salem Witch Trials
January/February 1692 - May 1693
American playwright who combined social awareness with a concern for his characters' inner lives
Born in NYC
Best known for his play
Death of a Salesman
Wrote
The Crucible
as a response to the corrupt investigation of "subversive" activities of the 1950s
Subjects of his plays focus on the failure in human relationships and its consequences; guilt and responsibility
Arthur Miller 1915 - 2005
Senator from Wisconsin and leading figure in the anti-Communist movement of the 1950s
The post-war period of the late 1940s and 1950s were a time when the nation wished to return to normalcy and prosperity. The Soviet blockade of Berlin, the invasion of South Korea, and the Eastern European Block all raised concerns of the possibility of atomic war. These events help precipitate the Red Scare and Cold War.
Joseph McCarthy
1908 - 1957
Who's Who in American Literature - The Beginnings
Time is cyclical and can move between the present, past, and future without clear breaks.
While the stories vary from tribe to tribe, the genres of oral literature are consistent. They include:
*Symbolic stories - which tie into larger bodies of oral literature
*Life lessons
*Spirit mentors
*Creation stories
*Stories of survival
*Magic
*Love, romance, adventure
Writing attracted settlers to America
(descriptive prose stimulated English colonization of North America)
Recounts hardships of early Jamestown settlers
Accurate maps are examples of early colonial cartography
First telling did not include Pocahontas. Smith returned to England in 1609 and then revised the story to include her.
The General History of Virginia
William Bradford 1590-1657
Bradford led the Pilgrims to current-day Massachusetts 13 years after the first permanent English settlement was established in Jamestown, Virginia.
Born in Yorkshire, England.
At the age of 12, he joined a group of Puritans who believed that the Church of England was corrupt. They wished to separate from the church.
Moved to Holland due to stiff persecution for his religious beliefs. He sailed on the
Mayflower
to North America.
In 1630 he began writing
Of Plymouth

Plantation
. This firsthand account of the Pilgrims' struggle to endure was written in the simple language known as Puritan Plain Style and was not published until 1856.
Elected governor of the Plymouth colony and was re-elected 30 times.
During his tenure, he instituted the town meeting within the colonies; a democratic process that continues to take place in state government today.
Poems reflect Puritan's knowledge of the stories and language of the Bible; concerns of everyday Puritan life, including personal feelings on childbirth and the death of loved ones, and the rights of women to learn and express themselves
Women's writing and education were discouraged by the Puritan community
Thought of poetry as a form of personal worship, publishing only two stanzas
In 1833 a descendent gave his poetry to Yale; published in 1939
His poetry uses extravagant comparisons, intellectual wit, and subtle arguments to explore religious faith and affection
Most famous for his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"
Eventually lost his position as pastor (the congregation kicked him out for being so ultra-conservative)
He was sent into exile as a pastor at a frontier church and missionary to Native Americans
Later, he was the president of the College of New Jersey (later called Princeton)
Died of smallpox
Over 200 people were accused of witchcraft, 50 people confessed, 8 people died in jail, 19 were hanged, and an 80 year-old man was pressed to death under stones for refusing to confess to witchcraft.
In October 1692, the Governor's own wife was accused of witchcraft, prompting him to get involved. He began dissolving the courts and refused to allow any more trials
The Salem Witch Trials have long been studied by scholars and historians.
Patterns of social and economic resentment
Dangers of isolation, false accusations, failure of due process, religious extremism
Mass hysteria
McCarthy became a circuit judge by using dirty campaign tactics and playing up his role in WW II
Afraid he would lose the election after being senator for four years so he began a list of people who were known to be members of the Communist Party. He suggested they were passing secrets to the Soviet Union
Began receiving information from his friend, J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI

On February 20, 1950, he gave a six-hour speech on how the Democratic administration had been infiltrated by communist subversives - 205 state department employees were members of the Communist party
The war in Korea was going badly, so public opinion was easily swayed towards the idea of internal subversives (spies)
McCarthy attacked writers, movie stars, political figures; people were blacklisted and lost their livelihoods. Many were forced to move to Mexico or Europe. During his time in office, McCarthy censored 30, 000 books
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