Beginnings of American Literature: The Age of Faith

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  • Beginnings of American Literature: The Age of Faith
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  • Functions of Native American Literature Beliefs about nature of physical world Beliefs about social order and appropriate behavior Beliefs about human nature and the problem of good and evil Beings are animals spirits in more or less human form
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  • Elements of Mythology Myths explain things. They may be told for entertainment, but they also teach cultural values. They often explain such important matters as how human beings came into existence, or trivial matters such as why rabbits have short tails. Myths contain supernatural elements. They usually have gods or goddesses or figures associated with divinities as characters. These figures may be human, animals, or other living things, or even inanimate beings. Myths have dreamlike qualities. Mythic stories typically take place in a timeless past, and they contain fantastic and symbolic elements often connected with dreams. Like dreams, myths can bring out human beings worst fears and dearest wishes. Myths can be both serious and humorous. Though some myths, such as dramatic stories of the Greeks, are serious, others contain humorous elements as well.
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  • The North: Puritans In 1620, a hundred or so English men and women settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts, fleeing from religious persecution. An example of such persecution: One Englishman who had written a pamphlet to reform the Church of England was put in jail, fined, whipped, had the top of his ears cut off, his forehead burned with a hot iron, and his nose slit.
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  • DIVINE MISSION John Winthrop We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through all the world. Bay Colony
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  • Three Puritan Principles They wished to have their feelings changed through Gods grace. They wanted to be cleansed of envy, vanity, and lust. They valued plainnesssimplicity, especially in church. They saw their bringing Christianity to America as a divine mission.
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  • Puritan Writing Histories William Bradford Poetry Anne Bradstreet Edward Taylor Sermons Jonathan Edwards Edward Taylor The Purpose of Literature is To Edify (instruct or improve)
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  • Puritan Books The Bay Psalm Book (1640) Translations of the Bibles Psalms; first book published in America. The New England Primer (1690) Spelling and reading book. The Day of Doom (1662) By Michael Wigglesworth; Simple poem about Judgement day. First Best Seller.
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  • Styles Ornate (decorated) Psalm 23 (King James Version) The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake. Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me
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  • Styles Plaine Psalm 23 (Bay Psalm Book) The lord to me a shepherd is. want therefore shall not I. He in the folds of tender grass, He in the folds of tender grass, doth cause me down to lie. To waters calm me gently leads, To waters calm me gently leads, restore my path does he. Yea though in valley of deaths shade Yea though in valley of deaths shade I walk, none ill Ill fear; Because thou art with me, thy rod and staff my comfort are.
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  • Important dates 1492Christopher Columbus 1607Founding of Jamestown 1620Mayflower on Plymouth Rock 1636Harvard College Founded 1692Salem Witch Trials 1740sGreat Awakening
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  • The End of Puritanism No longer need for theocracy. Puritans became guilty of religious persecution themselves. Salem Witch Trials 1740s-A revitalization of Puritanism called the Great Awakening
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  • The South: Planters Came for Economic Reasons Religion is Church of England (Anglican) Formed large plantations, often 100 people living on them. Literature was more descriptive and less holy in nature.