William Bradford Response

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Christopher Columbus viewed the “New World” as an inspiring land of beauty, one which seemed flawless in his eyes as he arrived in the month of November. Upon discovery of the land he noted, “All are most beautiful, of a thousand shapes, and all are accessible and filled with trees of a thousand kinds and tall, and they seem to touch the sky.” (Columbus 26) However, for William Bradford the landscape of the “New World” posed many hardships and difficulties. In the eyes of Bradford “the weather was very cold, and it froze so hard the spray of the sea lighting on their coats, they were as if they had been glazed.” (Bradford 63) Faced with two very different views of the “New World” one has to consider who is correct, Columbus or Bradford? Rather than trying to appeal to the European audience like Columbus, Bradford writes truthfully of the hardships posed by the bulk of New England winter. Bradford has stayed and experienced living in the “New World,” whereas Columbus was passing through and enjoying the scenery. While reading Bradford’s story it seems as though he is keeping a journal of his encounters. In comparison, Columbus’ letters seem more representative of his first impression. He was so amazed by the lands beauty he did not even address its potential flaws. Bradford presents the imperfections of the “New World,” not as a means of discouraging fellow Puritans to make the voyage as well, but as a truthful account of what lies ahead if they choose the same path. Whatever his intent, it is notable that Bradford wanted Puritans to break away from the Church of England. It seems as though he was addressing Puritans and perhaps this was his way of advising them to make the voyage to the “New World” during the spring, so that there would be time for them to prepare for winter.
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