American Literature Final Notes: Victoria Forkus
Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Scarlet Letter”: Hester Prynne, Rev. Dimmesdale, Pearl, the scarlet letter. The scaffold as a central theme in the novel as is guilt, shame, sin, and symbolism.
Genesis: God creates the world in six days, humankind, animals vegetation ect. Eve created from Adams rib, Adam created from dust. Avoid the tree of knowledge—said God—Eve tricked by serpent, banished from Eden.
Iroquois Creation story: Pregnant woman falls through the sky (twins), lower land is darkness. She lands on the back of a turtle—Evil twin kills mother bursting from her side during child birth. The twins grow up on a great island. Good vs. Evil. Good twin- corn stalks, Evil twin-deer antlers (they battle). Good overcomes evil; he rules the universe because he won the battle.
Christopher Columbus, “Letter to Luis de Santangel”: Found San Salvador, Isla de Santa María de Concepción ect. The “Indies”, he thinks he’s reached China ‘Catayo’. He refers to it also as Juana. The natives fled immediately, no towns or villages on the seashore. The Islands are fertile, Columbus states, “Espanola is a marvel.”
The New England Primer: Puritans relied heavily on this text to enforce literacy. Massachusetts Bay colony passed an ordinance that said Satan was trying to keep men from the scriptures, children must be instructed. This was the principle means of instruction—the knowledge of God--Originated in the Catholic Church. Printed by Benjamin Harris in London, England.
William Bradford, “Of Plymouth Plantation”: Pilgrims left England for Holland, because they were persecuted. Left Holland for American because life was hard (poverty). Ship ride was treacherous, much sickness. November when they came to America, Squanto offered peace (24 year peace ensued). Mr.Dermer was trouble? Thanksgiving-Marymount Virginia (Wollaston/Morton).
Cotton Mather, “The Wonders of the Invisible World”: Often blamed for the Salem witch trials, Puritans are a target for Satan because they are so pure. Martha Carrier—her own children testify and say she’s a witch. Cotton Mather wants to be like his Dad, Increase Mather.
Jonathan Edwards, “Personal Narrative”: The Great Awakening, sinner in the hands of an angry God sermon. He is very concerned about his soul, swamp hit with friends. New York—Connecticut. Becomes sick in New Haven; loves God and self-contemplation. “Badness of my Heart”, has a conversion experience. Solomon Stoddard created the ½ way convenient grandfather to Jonathan Edwards.
Benjamin Franklin, “Autobiography”: Reasons for writing; his son will want to know, other can imitate his success, retelling is a way of reliving the past, old men like to talk, vanity, make recollections permanent. Topics in his autobiography; family- apprenticeship, the youngest son of the youngest son x5 generations, pride in his parents (gravestone); Success- only 2 years of formal education, ‘junto’ group, started a library; Morality- finding his own way, the Errata’s of his life, Deist (God created and walked away); Business- move up in trade, ask for help from those more wealthy, make connections with lots of people, live below your means; Health- escaped syphilis, protests drinking, exercises, vegetarian diet, he gives swimming lessons; Franklin believed perfection was possible, he creates a list of 13 virtues that are, in order: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility.
Anne Bradstreet: She was a puritan poet, she wrote a book that was published without her knowledge by her brother in law. He wrote a forward that attested to her virtue and dedication as a puritan mother.
Edward Taylor: He was a poet too; he was a New England puritan. He became published after he died, he left instructions for his heirs to not publish his work, and they were all but forgotten for 200 years after his...
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