Colonial Period Study Guide for American Literature

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Native American Literature:
Pre-colonial period
1. All literature was translated orally. This includes myths, legends, tales, lyrics, etc. 2. Theme – reverence for nature. Nature seen as both physical and spiritual mother. Nature alive with spiritual forces in the forms of animals and plants. Their totems (object or animal thought to have spiritual significance, becomes emblem of a emblem) reflect this. 3. Everyday words that come from Native Americans:

canoe, tobacco, potato, and mouse.
4. Two most famous figures in Native American literature are Grandmother Spider and Coyote. The colonial period: The age of faith.
The Puritans
1. The puritans are a group of people influenced by the Protestant Reformation. 2. Disillusioned with the Church of England because of link to royal family and worldliness of its members. 3. Wanted to purify the Church of England

4. Suffered prosecution from the English government
5. Heard about new world and decided God wanted them to go there and begin a new life. 6. Wanted to “build a city on a hill” for all the world to see their good works and glorify God 7. Valued education because people could read the bible for themselves 8. Interpreted the bible literally

9. First puritans were called Pilgrims, because they felt like they were on a journey Puritan Literature
* Purpose was to encourage people to worship God
* Favored Plain Style of Writing, so that people easily understood. Ordinary and simple sentences and words. * Wrote diaries, histories, poems, religious texts, in order to promote their faith. * NO SHORT STORIES. They were novels because they were fiction. Themes of Literature

* Life is a test. If one passes, heaven; if one fails; hell. * One’s work will demonstrate if one is destined for heaven. * Wealth and health are indicators of God’s blessing and approval * Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop; work hard and stay busy to avoid the devil. A Puritan Must…

* Hear the bible preached
* Keep a diary
* Get a basic education
* Marry
* Be nosey in order to help others stay on the right track

John Smith accomplishments
* Led first successful English colony in America
* Founded Jamestown in 1607
* Helped obtain food, enforce discipline, and deal with Native Americans William Bradford accomplishments
* Helped lead Pilgrims to what is now Massachusetts
* Became governor of his colony
* Was reelected 30 times
* Organized repayment of debt
* Instituted town meeting within colonies
* Established good relations with Native Americans
Smith vs. Bradford accounts
* Both told in 3rd person
* Smith seems cocky and full of himself.
* Uses words like “bearing the greatest task” and “fair promises” * Continually calls Native Americans “savages”
* Seems ignorant, even at end he still calls them savages * Bradford conveys positive messages
* No matter difference between people, bonds can be established, and mean good for everyone * Treats them more like people
* Communicated well with Native Americans
Of Plymouth Plantation is written by Bradford, and covers the story of the Pilgrim’s journey, including their journey on the Mayflower and their settlement in the new world. Accomplishments of Anne Bradstreet

* Wrote poems about rights of women to learn/express themselves * These poems got published by a family member back in England Anne Bradstreet loved her husband, and considered it more valuable than wealth and that their love is eternal, and after life. John Edwards’ famous sermon: Sinners in the Hands of a Gracious God

He uses metaphors to show man’s reliance on God
He shows how fragile man’s ties to life and salvation are without the help of God He refers to sin as “bitter and poisonous fruit” and “grapes of Sodom” Edward Taylor’s “Huswifery’s” extended metaphor compares life to a spinning wheel, and...
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