Puritanism in American Literature
The Puritans had a large influence in American literature and still influence moral judgment and religious beliefs in the United States to this day. Puritan writing was used to glorify God and to relate God more directly to our world. Puritan literature was commonly a realistic approach to life. “Puritanism as a historical phenomenon and as a living presence in American life has enriched American literature in ways far too numerous to detail here.” (G. Perkins B. Perkins Phillip Leininger 888) Puritanism is a collection of many different religious and political beliefs. Common styles of Puritan writing are protestant, Calvinist, purposiveness, and the writings also directly reflected the character of the readers who were literate and strongly religious. Pragmaticism and both political and religious Idealism are frequently themes in Puritan literature. Puritanism thus laid the basis for Americanism. It did so on the basis not of philosophical or legal argument, but of Christian belief based on the Bible. (Gelernter 25)The Calvinist ideology, which was popular in Puritanism was based off of the Five Points, which are total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the “saints.” Total depravity is the idea that all humans are born sinful. Unconditional election means that God chooses who he wants to save and also contains the concept of predestination, which is an ideology that God damns certain individuals for the salvation of others. This also ties in with limited atonement, the ideology that Jesus only died for a selected group of individuals, not for everyone. The ideology of irresistible grace is that “the saving and transfiguring power of God,” cannot be either earned or denied. Perseverance of the “saints” is the ideological belief that elected individuals have the power to interpret the will of God and to live in an upright fashion. The Puritans had...
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