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Introduction to Puritan Literature
Transcript of Introduction to Puritan Literature
Single-minded visionaries convinced of the rightness of their beliefs
Very practical and businesslike
Simple way of life with few possessions
Many historians feel Puritan ethics of thrift, hard work, and self-sufficiency contributed to the success of the New World
Could be why the U.S. became such a hardworking nation and leader in the world
All people were sinners
Emphasized that hard work not only produces wealth, but also strong moral character
Reading the Bible was a necessity for all Puritans
For this reason, they were very literate
Believed in the "elect" - a group of people who would be saved and go to Heaven
Predestination - already determined by God
Difficult to know for certain if one were part of the "elect"
Good behavior was a sign of being "elect"
Scrutinized daily lives and behavior for signs that they were part of the "elect"
Bible provided a model
Direct connections between Biblical events and their lives
Used writing to explore and scrutinize their inner and outer lives for signs of the workings of God
Diaries and histories were most common forms of expression
Described feelings/experiences in daily life
Frowned on creative expression
The Puritan Legacy
Puritan - broad term referring to a number of Christian Protestant groups who sought to "purify" the Church of England
Persecuted for beliefs and fled England for Holland and, ultimately, North America
First English Puritans landed in 1620
tip of Cape Cod
just before Christmas
Values in Literature
Predestination - signs of salvation
Strong work ethic
Literacy and education
Community effort not individualism
Man's inherent sinfulness
Wilderness as the devil's province
Saw nature as God's creation but feared disorder of the frontier
Viewed Native Americans as savages
Favored plain style
short words, direct statements, references to ordinary objects
Thought God's workings were to be found in everday things and events
Stressed clarity of expression and avoided complicated figures of speech
Believed anything that appealed to senses or emotions was too worldly and dangerous
Apostrophe - figure of speech in which a speaker directly addresses a person who is dead or not physically present, a personified object, a nonhuman thing, or an abstract idea.
Writing a poem to the sky
Writing a poem to your long-lost first pet