American Literature: Beginnings and The Colonial Period

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  • American Literature: Beginnings and The Colonial Period

  • Native Americans

    Oral tradition

    Explored common themes, such as reverence for nature and the worship of many gods

    Rich and diverse folklore

  • Effect of Colonialism on Native AmericansNear 90 % died due to exposure to European diseases

    Land wars


  • Literature of the Explorersletters, journals, and books emphasizing Americas abundant resources, the hospitality of the inhabitants, and the promise of unlimited wealth & goldWanted to increase expeditions and funding

  • The Puritans ArriveFirst group arrived in 1620led by William Bradford

    **In many respects, American character has been shaped by the moral, ethical, and religious convictions of the Puritans.

  • What is a Puritan? Puritan refers to a number of Protestant groups that sought to purify the Church of England

    Came to America because they suffered persecution in Englandjailed, whipped, noses and ears cut

  • The Puritan Purposewished to return to simpler forms of worship and church organization

    religion was a personal inner experience

    did not believe that clergy or government should act as intermediary between the individual and God

  • Puritan Beliefs: Sinners All?Strong belief in Original Sin & the resulting damnation

    Believed outward behavior indicated inner soul & its capacity to be saved

    **Puritan ValuesSelf-relianceIndustriousnessTemperanceSimplicity

  • Puritan Politics a covenant, or contract, between God and humanity

    Mayflower Compact outlined a contract of government

    Little room for compromise

  • Salem Witchcraft Trials 1691-1692

    all started with daughter and niece of Rev. Parristhe two girls dabbled in witchcraft and became illblamed many people in town150 were imprisoned, 19 killed

    Mass hysteria and paranoia

  • The Bible in Puritan AmericaTrained to see life as a pilgrimage to salvationBelieved the Bible was the literal word of GodGreat emphasis on educationto better read the Bible

  • Puritan WritingPurpose of Puritan writing is to record the workings of GodAllusions

    Plain style

    Diaries, Journals, etc.

  • Our ObjectivesTo understand the impact of Puritan beliefs on our modern culture

    To understand Puritan writing as the origins of American literature

    To analyze how personal beliefs impact the voice and purpose of a piece of literature

    To examine elements of language that are manipulated for an audience