Forming an American Identity: Colonial Literature


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Colonial Literature, including: the colonies (historically), colonial writing style, Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards

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Forming an American Identity: Colonial Literature

  1. 1. Forming an American IdentityThe Colonies
  2. 2. A. European explorers in America 1. Spanish Colonies(1580s) a. lower region of US and Mexicob. missionaries convert Natives 2. French Colonies: St. Laurence River in Canada, Northern America 3. English Colonies a. Jamestown , first thriving colony (1607)b. Plymouth Colonies (Northern Colonies)i. pilgrims emigrate to escape persecution(1620s) ii. Mayflower Compact: govern colony for sake of all, free of religious persecution iii. export timber, build boats, produce rum, textile, iron objectsc. Central and Southern Coloniesi. King Charles II gives land to supporters (New York, Carolinas, Georgia) ii. Quakers (Pennsylvania, Delaware) iii. Catholics (Maryland) iv. plantations, large farms, unskilled workers (dependence on slave trade)
  3. 3. B. Writings of the Explorers 1. general observations catalogued about the New World 2. governmental documents (“briefs”) between settlers and home countries 3. emphasis away from class distinction; favor merit, talent, effort 4. emphasize abundant resources, peacefulness, promise of unlimited wealthC. Puritan Colonial Literature 1. settlements devoted to open religious life (very strict to religious interpretation) 2. early publications often reflect religious, security, cultural concerns 3. describe connections between Biblical events and person experiences 4. most common forms: diaries and histories 5. written in plain style, avoided figures of speech 6. Cotton Mather: biographies of religious leaders, guides for ministers/religious servants, records of wars
  4. 4. D. Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) 1. Background a. born into Puritan familyb. brought to colonies as teenage bride, married at age 16 to Simon Bradstreetc. settled in Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colonyd. suffered fatigue, rheumatic fevers 2. Writings a. influenced by the language and style of Shakespeareb. first published unknowingly by brother-in-law John Woodbridge in Londonc. earlier poems lofty and elaborate, focus on public eventsd. later works simple, personal (on topics: birth, death, love, illness, etc)e. “Among all my experiences of God’s gracious dealings with me I have constantly observed this, that He hath never suffered me long to sit loose from Him, but by one affliction or other hath made me look home, and search what was amiss.”
  5. 5. Anne Bradstreet, 1612-1672
  6. 6. By Night When Others Soundly Slept Anne Bradstreet By night when others soundly slept And hath at once both ease and Rest, My waking eyes were open kept And so to lie I found it best. I sought him whom my Soul did Love, With tears I sought him earnestly. He bowd his ear down from Above. In vain I did not seek or cry. My hungry Soul he filld with Good; He in his Bottle put my tears, My smarting wounds washt in his blood, And banisht thence my Doubts and fears. What to my Saviour shall I give Who freely hath done this for me? Ill serve him here whilst I shall live And Love him to Eternity.
  7. 7. Exercise1. Choose a group of 4.2. Each group will be given a different Anne Bradstreet poem.3. Read the poem aloud, as a group.4. Annotate the poem, looking specifically for metaphors, similes, personification, symbolism, rhyme scheme, and meter.5. Answer the questions on the back (SOAP: s=speaker, o=occasion, a=audience, p=purpose)6. Choose a reader and a spokesperson.7. When it is your group’s turn, the reader will read the poem to the class (don’t forget to read the title); then, the spokesperson will answer the questions on the back of the poem, explaining the SOAP of the poem to the class.8. Everyone will be turning in their annotations AND answers on the back of their poems.
  8. 8. E. The American Great Awakening (1730s)1. major tenets a. encourage return to Calvinist zealb. stress emotional commitment and complete surrender to faithc. attempt to appeal to new converts with emotional appe (to those whoembraced philosophies of Locke)
  9. 9. 2. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) a. Backgroundi. born to a minister, groomed to follow in his footsteps ii. well educated, entered Yale at age 13 iii. began religious revival, “The Great Awakening” iv. eventually became known for extremism; strictness caused hisdismissal from pastorshipof Northamptonv. relocated to Stockbridge, became a missionary, and after 8 yearsnamed President of now Princeton vi. died of small pox inoculationb. Writngs/Sermonsi. sought to convert congregations from believers who understoodChristian logic to Christians emotionally move by their beliefs ii. believed in reason and learning, value of independent intellect, human williii. also believed in lowliness of humanity in relation to God’s majesty; ultimate futility of merely human effort to achieve salvation iv. dichotomy kept him from being categorized as either Puritan orRationalistv. marked by intense emotivism, sometimes hysteria vi. evangelistic intent: “bringing of good news,” tried to “awaken”people who knew the message but hadn’t made personal emotionalconnection
  10. 10. Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758engraving by R Babson & JAndrews
  11. 11. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God The most famous sermon ever preached in America.It was a warm summers day, July 8, 1741, as Jonathan Edwards, manuscript in hand, ascended the steps up to the pulpit in a church in Enfield, Connecticut. Edwards, nearsighted since he was a boy, put on his spectacles, and with solemn power read his manuscript; an indictment of the sinfulness of all mankind, from Almighty God Himself.His text was taken from Deut. 32:35, "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." He warned his hearers with forceful solemnity, "That God who holds you over the pit of Hell much in the same way as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you and is dreadfully provoked, His wrath towards you burns like fire. He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight. You are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended Him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; yet, it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment."
  12. 12. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God The most famous sermon ever preached in America.Men and women, who had been previously totally occupied with the things and problems of life in Colonial America, were suddenly placed under the grip of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. As Edwards continue to read Gods indictment of mankind, men and women cried out to the preacher, "Is there no way of escape?" Never since Peters sermon at Pentecost, when those that were under conviction cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?", has a single sermon had such a tremendous impact.Even with men and women crying out to him, Jonathan Edwards kept reading without interruption, Reading charge after charge in Gods indictment, taking away every false hope that they should escape. Reminding them that, "mens pains and contrivances which they use to escape Hell while they continue to reject Christ and so remain wicked men, do not secure them from Hell one moment."As Edwards concluded with these words, "Never was there a period when so many means were employed for the salvation of souls; and if you entirely neglect them, you will eternally curse the day of our birth. Now, undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, the axe is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree which brings not forth good fruit may be hewn down, and cast into the fire.Therefore, let every one who is out of Christ now awake and flee from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over every unregenerate sinner. Let every one flee out of Sodom: "Escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed." Everyone in the church was prostrate, crying out to God for mercy, and thus was sparked a revival, that became the Great Awakening in Colonial America.
  13. 13. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God The most famous sermon ever preached in America.Reenactment of Selections from "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," by Dr. Ralph Green, Heritage Baptist Church 2009 While you listen, in your journal, make note of your feelings and thoughts. What phrases really grab you? What main message really strikes you personally?
  14. 14. Methods of PersuasionIn one of his many works on rhetoric, Ancient Greek Philosophy Aristotle devises three categories of persuasion: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.Ethos, or ethical appeal, means convincing by the character of the author. We tend to believe people whom we respect. One of the central problems of argumentation is to project an impression to the reader that you are someone worth listening to, in other words making yourself as author into an authority on the subject of the paper, as well as someone who is likable and worthy of respect.Pathosmeans persuading by appealing to the readers emotions. We can look at texts ranging from classic essays to contemporary advertisements to see how pathos, emotional appeals, are used to persuade. Language choice affects the audiences emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument.Logosmeans persuading by the use of reasoning. This will be the most important technique we will study, and Aristotles favorite. Well look at deductive and inductive reasoning, and discuss what makes an effective, persuasive reason to back up your claims. Giving reasons is the heart of argumentation, and cannot be emphasized enough. Well study the types of support you can use to substantiate your thesis, and look at some of the common logical fallacies, in order to avoid them in your writing.
  15. 15. In short:• Ethos: the sources credibility, the speakers/authors authority• Logos: the logic used to support a claim (induction and deduction); can also be the facts and statistics used to help support the argument.• Pathos: the emotional or motivational appeals; vivid language, emotional language and numerous sensory details.
  16. 16. Exercise1. Reread the sermon. Annotate as you go, specifically labeling segments of the sermon which demonstrate ethos, pathos, and logos.2. Then, find the quotes that you believe best demonstrate each of the three appeals (you will have three quotes, total- write on your own sheet of paper)3. Under each, explain how those particular lines of the sermon represent those appeals. Are they effective? Are they convincing? Why/Why not? (this should be at least a paragraph long for each)