The Influence of Puritanism on American Literature Essay

1243 Words Jan 18th, 2013 5 Pages
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The Puritans and PuritanismMost of the early settlers were Puritans, a group of serious, religious people who advocated strict religious and moral principles. * They wanted to purify the English Church and to restore church worship to the "pure and unspotted" condition of its earlier days. * They opposed the elaborate rituals of the English Church. * They believed that the Bible was the revealed word of God, therefore, people should guide their daily behavior with the Bible.The Puritans

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Contending that there is only one God who rules everything on the earth, these Puritans thought they were "the selected few", chosen by God to reestablish a Commonwealth based on the teachings of the Bible, to restore the lost paradise and to build the wilderness into a new Garden of Eden. "Therefore the journey to the New World was not just a migration. It was a new Exodus, ordained by God and foretold in the Bible, just as the Bible promised the creation of a New Jerusalem, in America."(McMichael, ed. AAL, 8)On the other hand, Puritanism also has its practical aspect. When the Puritans first landed on the continent, what they were faced with was wilderness¡ªno shelter, no food and no clothes. Their struggle for survival and the movement of pushing the frontier with them as they moved further and further westward made them more and more preoccupied with business and profits. They had to work hard in order to make a living and be ready for any misfortunes and tragic failures that might lie in wait for them. As far as this respect is concerned, the Puritans learned a lot from the native Indians who helped them through the severe winters.The impact of Puritanism on American literature can be summarized into the following three categories: * American literature, in a sense, is a literary expression of the pious idealism of the Puritan request. The Puritans dreamed of living under a perfect order and worked with hope and courage toward building a new Garden of Eden.
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