Values in Early American Literature
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," says the Declaration of Independence. This phrase encompasses three major values shown throughout early American literature. The strong belief in religion, freedom, and a strong will for a better life. Each piece had one or more of these themes within them.
A strong value within almost all the writing was religion, both Native American and Puritan. Most Native American tales are based around a god or a moral expressed by a god. In "Coyote Finishes His Work" Coyote does all his work because the "Old Man Above" wanted him too. Their lives are entirely based on their religion. They speak the language because Coyote said so. They live where they live because Coyote said so. He was their link to their god. "He made the Indians, and put them out in tribes all over the world because Old Man Above wanted the earth to be inhabited all over, not just in one or two places." Not only were the Native Americans very close with their religion, but so were the early settlers. Most of the original Europeans who crossed over were of the Puritan faith. Almost every work makes reference to this religion, from the Constitution to Jonathan Edwards "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Almost all of the works in Collection Two spoke of the author's religion or adhering to its beliefs. Such as, Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", in which he speaks strictly of the Puritan religion. "His anger is great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of His wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger." Here Edwards speaks of those who have not confessed to being born again in the eyes of God and sinners within the church. The...
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