Exploring the Tenets of Puritanism in American Literature

Subject: Religion
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 616
Topics: Church, American Culture, Book

Table of Contents

American Literature

The Puritans were a unique Separatists group that was opposed to the Anglican Church because they believed Church of England was supporting various Catholic Church doctrines. Puritans were guided by six central tenets which include; God’s grace, Original sin, Predestination, Providence, Charity, and Judgment of God. They immigrated to America in search of a place to exercise their religion freely. After they settled in the United States of America, they profoundly affected the Church in North America, social mores, government, economy, and education. The impacts of the things they implement in their original colonies are still present in the governmental and social structures of the United States. The essay, therefore, seeks to discuss two tenets of Puritanism as revealed in the works of some Puritan writers in the American literature. 

In the entire book “Of Plymouth Plantation” Bradford perceive every event that arises, whether good or evil as a fulfillment of some divine will that is difficult for a human being to comprehend. For example, during the voyage to Plymouth an extreme sacrilegious young man who is presented as mocking, blasphemous, and full of insults to the faithful Pilgrims, got unwell and passed on. Bradford views this happening as God’s approach to castigating his people and making them recall the appropriate manners for a Christian believer. “Thus his curses light on his own head, and it was an astonishment to all his fellows for they noted it to be just hand of God upon him” (Bradford 15). 

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Equally, Anne Bradstreet in her book “The Author to Her Book” attributes everything which happens to her and her family as to God’s will, she constantly reflects on the need of focusing her thoughts on heavenly matters. The success and health of her family make Ann recognize God’s providence, goodness, and love and she took time to express his gratitude to God for His abundant blessings. She illustrates her belief in God’s will and grace in her poem “In Memory of Dear Grandchild” when she expresses that the child has gone to dwell with God: “settled in an everlasting state” (Ann Bradstreet line 5, 7). Similarly, in her book “Upon the Burning of Our House” Anne reflect the burning of their house as the will of God because she was gradually becoming inclined to materialism; therefore, not depending on God’s love and providence as she was supposed. “There’s wealth enough, I need no more, Farewell, my pelf, farewell my store. The world no longer let me love, My hope and treasure lies above.”(Ann Bradstreet line 35, 37) In these lines, she submits farewell to her material possessions contented with surety that her treasure and hope are with God.   

Conversely, John Winthrop in his writing “A Model of Christian Charity” he heavily accentuates on charity in the community. Winthrop, thus, invites members of the new society they established to be compassionate to one another: “every man might have need of others, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection” (John Winthrop 1931). John, thus, hoped that the colony that was to be created was to a territory where individuals would be willing to forego their private interests in pursuit of the public good. To achieve this ideal Christian love and charity was to be the guiding principle.

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  1. Anne Bradstreet. “Upon the Burning of Our House” 1612-1672. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1967. Print.
  2. Anne Bradstreet. “The Author to Her Book” 1612-1672. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1967. Print.
  3. Bradford, William. Of  Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Rutgers University Press, 1952.
  4. Winthrop, John. “A model of Christian charity.” Winthrop Papers 2 (1838): 1929-47.
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