29 September, 2011
Literary Puritan Influence on Present Day American Culture
Two of the most well known Puritan poets in colonial history, Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor, display in their verse the humble, pious, and disciplined life of early American Separatists. Mirroring its Calvinist background, Puritan Separatism was brought across the Atlantic during the early 1600’s as the religious “Pilgrims” were in search of a land that could offer them the opportunity for practicing their form of European Protestantism without scrutiny or oppression by monarchial powers. Their voyage, their attempt at self legislation, and their reason for refuge would be the foundation for the eventual beginning of a new nation whose principals would be based on freedom of religion. As these Pilgrims began to mix with other European nationalities, protestant denominations, and ideological demographics, their literature would be heavily influenced by their belief in the absolute sovereignty of God. For these dissenters of the Church of England, the biblical Deity held the monarchial power over their lives, not Europe’s kings and queens. Because this tradition became popular among the colonies of New England, Calvinist adherents such as Bradstreet and Taylor used their fear of The Almighty for the style of their poetry. These, mostly shorts poems, are some of the most important pieces in American literature because they symbolize this nation’s belief in religious liberty. This unalienable right will later make up one of the three components of the United States Constitutional first amendment.
Of the two poems that will be compared by Bradstreet, the most dismal is “The Author to Her Book”. In her writing, it seems as if Bradstreet has little confidence of her literary ability, yet the reason for this lack of assurance symbolizes the author’s belief that no matter how she tries, she could never be worthy of God’s grace....