Puritan Literature Essay

989 words - 4 pages

Puritan values, ideas, and beliefs are evident in the works of Anne Bradstreet, William Bradford, and Jonathan Edwards. Through her poetry, Bradstreet reveals her Puritan values and ideals. Bradstreet was aware of a woman’s role in Puritan society and tried to portray herself as a humble, pious, obedient, and modest wife. William Bradford’s work also encompasses beliefs, values, and ideas of Puritan life. One can see that in Bradford’s writing such as Of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford emphasizes Puritan suffering specifically through the Mayflower journey and how, with the grace of God, they prevailed. Jonathan Edwards’ work also displays Puritan beliefs, values, and ideals through the installation of fear. In an excerpt from Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Puritan minister Edwards uses the effective element of fear when addressing his congregation. Puritan values, ideals, and beliefs are reflected and expressed in the works of all three of these influential writers.
A passage from James Russell Lowell’s “The Bigelow Papers”, stresses how literature was not as significant in Puritan society because the prominent men and women were occupied “...putting their force into the strong and most urgent tasks pertaining to this world and the next.” (“The Bigelow Papers”). Anne Bradstreet was a poet who knew and respected the ideals and expectations of Puritan society. She realized that women were not as highly respected as men were and accepted this fact of life. Bradstreet wrote about personal experiences and feelings while remaining faithful to God in her writings. In her poem, “Upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666” Bradstreet mentions the pain and suffering she went through when her belongings perished in her house fire. “...Yet by His gift is made thine own; / There’s wealth enough, I need no more, / Farewell, my pelf, farewell my store.” She allowed herself to show pain and anger for her misfortune but then focused on her Puritan faith by recognizing that God gave her and her family grace and saved their lives. In Bradstreet’s poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband”, Bradstreet mentions the reciprocal love her and her husband share and how she prays that God will realize the strong bond the couple shares and that their love will be ever-lasting and will persevere even after death. Bradstreet stressed how important it was to her to be a good and humble Puritan wife and her poetry exuded the beliefs, values, and ideals of Puritan life.
Through his writing, Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford emphasized the divine power and grace of God and how He was the complex being that controlled the consequences of sin and the benefits of being a good Puritan. Bradford once stated that Puritans in England were frequently “taken and clapped up in prison” or “had their houses beset and watched night and day...” For these reasons among others, Bradford and many other Puritans journeyed to America for religious and authoritative refuge....

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