The Main Characteristics of Colonial American Puritan Writing

Topics: Puritan, Literature, Fiction Pages: 2 (509 words) Published: April 29, 2013
The Main Characteristics of Colonial American Puritan writing Colonial American Puritan writers reflect the core of Puritanism through their writing style. It is their belief that America, the New World, is the new Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. The God has prepared a New Canaan for these “selected ones” to abandon the corrupted Old World, and led them into an exodus of developing a whole new land to glorify Him. Puritanism thus nourishes the exuberance of individualism, and arouses the unquenchable thirst for freedom from governments. Colonial American Puritan writing thus flood with copious amounts of optimism, devout idealism, and pragmatism, which creates a style characterized by plain words of honesty and concreteness, rhetoric homely and observant, and restrained emotion as well as submission to the Almighty. To explain the three main characteristics, the authors’ works introduced in class will be exemplified in the following discussion. Plain Words of Honesty and Concreteness The Puritans perceive that words can’t fully praise the Almighty God. They pursue simplicity in literature as they do in religious ritual. Puritanism contemns what they consider affectation in literary works and redundancy of empty words, therefore, Puritan authors chose the plain, concrete and honest usage of words to depict. In Of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford give the reader a vivid description of the very moment the Pilgrims’ first land on Cape Cod with joy and gratitude, he uses simple but direct words to record the historical scene precisely. However, this feature also presents the austere quality of Puritanism in terms of a rigid attitude toward daily life. Compare John Winthrop’s text with Arthur Barlow’s, the former seems to lack passion and imagination but still be able to relate graphically and effectively through his manner of writing. Rhetoric Homely and Observant Allegories, metaphors and symbols are frequently employed in Colonial American Puritan...
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