Writing Styles in the Puritan Time Period

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In American Literature, the period of the Puritans sticks out as a time

with many great authors. Two, William Bradford and Reverend Jonathan

Edwards are still studied today. Bradford was an author who wrote about

the historical section of Puritan life, while Edwards was a great speaker

who wrote sermons to give in front of his congregation. Although living

in the same time period Reverend Jonathan Edwards and William Bradford

used very different styles of writing.

In writing, praise and everyday living the Puritans favored the ordinary

and simple. William Bradford wrote in what is considered the 'plain

style.' This form of writing was used by many Puritan authors and was

thought to be direct and to the point. The plain style consisted of

simple sentences and everyday used language. It never had figures of

speech and especially not any imagery. A good example of this style is

found in the passage from Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation, "They began

now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses

against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had

all things in good plenty." William took this otherwise exciting story of

the Puritans first winter and wrapped it all into one monotonous

sentence. Bradford's word choice epitomized the 'plain style' and that

was all the Puritan society would read or hear until Jonathan Edwards.

The Reverend Jonathan Edwards chose a style expressing his concerns much

more creatively than his fellow Puritan authors. Jonathan's style was

almost the complete opposite than the 'plain style.' He used many figures

of speech and

metaphors. An example of one of these fiery metaphors is from his speech,

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God , "The God that holds you over the

pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over

the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked." Reverend...
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