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The Puritans (Essay Sample)

The book we are utilizing is: The American Tradition in Literautre 12th Ed. ISBN: 0077239040. The assigned readings are: “The Puritans” Michael Wigglesworth – pp. 107-117 Mary Rowlandson – pp. 118-142 Edward Taylor – p 155 “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children” – p 158 “Huswifery” – p 160 “Upon a Spider Catching a Fly” – p 162 Cotton Mather – p 168, 172 “The Trial of Bridget Bishop” – p 175 “Bonifacius: Essays to Do Good” – p 187 Sarah Kemble Knight – pp. 189-197 You are asked to write a reaction to the assigned readings. These reactions should reflect your understanding of and thoughtfulness about the readings. Thus, for example, you might comment on specific points within a reading with which you strongly agree or disagree; make connections or comparisons across the readings or with other literature you have read; comment on themes, social issues or implications for the future development of literature. It is not expected that you will undertake additional reading, beyond those works assigned, to complete a response although you may make reference to other works if you wish. Also, Answer the following questions: 9. Relate three characteristics of the captivity narrative to Rowlandson's Narrative of the Captivity? 11. What statement does Taylor make about marriage and children in “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children”? 12. Describe some of the Puritan beliefs that led to tensions and conflicts within the movement. Lastly, write your comments to the following statement: I find it amazing throughout the reading that we have done the faith and understanding for God and religion that is in many of the writings. The one that especially stood out to me was in Mary Rowlandson's writing of her capture. There never seems to be a doubt that everything that happened to her and her family is God's will, and she is determined to make peace with all that happens because this is in fact what he has planned for her. Even after all that she had been through with being captured and weak she left her fate completely up to God. She states, "I was not willing to run away, but desire, and the many earnest requests of others put up unto God for me" (Perkins and Perkins 139). It's remarkable the spirit that people had in circumstances like this and how heavily they relied on God and his plan. I'm not sure that my faith would be as strong as her in this situation, and find it very encouraging. Attention to detail was described as a characteristic for the Narrative of Rowlandsons Narrative of Captivity. I found this very evident throughout reading her passage of her captivity and that she described the events that occurred in such great detail. I was able to get a good mental picture of each scene that occurred throughout her captivity and could gave you a hint of what she was feeling at that particular time. Rowlandson described exactly what was happening when she got captured for example "knockt him in the head, and stript him naked, and split open his bowels (Perkins and Perkins 119). Also , "the bullets flying thick, one went through my side, and the same (as would seem) through the bowels and hand of my dear child in my arms" (Perkins and Perkins 120). The description of the narrative also explained that Rowlandson used her narrative to assist the reader to realize that God had a plan and to help show the reader what this plan was. For example, "The Lord hereby would make us the more to acknowledge his hand and to see that our help in always in him" (Perkins and Perkins 12). Also, yet the Lord by his almighty power, preserved a number of us from death" (Perkins and Perkins 121). Rowlandson explained throughout her writing that this was indeed God's plan and he was there throughout the entire way with her being the strength by her side to show her the way. For example, "But God was with me, in a wonderful manner, carrying me along, and bearing my spirit, that it did not quite fail" (Perkins and Perkins 122). As stated in the description of her captivity she was certain that this was indeed God's plan for her. Another relation between the description of the narrative and the actual narrative was the biblical references. Rowlandsons often quotes versus from the bible in her narrative. These play into the point she is makes about how God has a plan and that this was his plan for her. For example, "When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee" (Perkins and Perkins 125). This was a biblical reference by Rowlandson in her passage to show the reader that God was indeed with her. The statement about marriage that I think Taylor is trying to make is that he really believed in the sanctity of the union of marriage. He states, " No Alexander's sword can it divide" (Perkins and Perkins 158). I belive this to mean that not even Alexander the Great's sword could divide such a union between man and women, which shows just how important this tie between him and his wife really was. I belive Taylor is stating that nothing can come between true love and it will never be untied or broken. It seems as though Taylor found true love and saw just how special the bond between two people was. I think Taylor loved his children very dearly and was deeply saddened at their death, but that they indeed did go to heaven. I think he looked at his children's deaths as it was Christ could have chosen any child but Christ chose his child. Taylor states, "Christ would in Glory have a Flowre, Choice Prime, And having Choice, chose this my branch brought forth" (Perkins and Perkins 159). I belive that even though Taylor was very upset by the deaths of his children he thought that Christ could have chosen any child to bring with him to heaven and that it was almost an honor that he chose his. Some puritans belied that Indians need their souls to be saved and Puritans believed that they were spawns of Satan (Perkins and Perkins 165). This did not allow for the Puritans and the Indians to have any sort of friendly relationship and in fact turned them into enemies (Perkins and Perkins 165). A result of the Puritans negative belief of the Indians resulted in towns and villages were burned, people were killed, or sent to Barbados to become slaves (Perkins and Perkins 166). The Puritans more or less believed that their way of thinking was the only way and anyone who practiced or believed in something else was an enemy and they should be punished for such things. Reference: Perkins, George and Perkins, Barbara. The American Tradition in Literature. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2009. Print source..
The Puritans
From a critical point of view on works of Edward Taylor Upon Wedlock, and the Death of Children and Upon the Burning of Our House by Anne Bradstreet we learn that puritans were a religious society. They were mostly settlers who had migrated from New England as early as the seventeenth century. This thought is supported after examining some of these early settlers’ written poems. For instance, Upon a Spider Catching a Fly – p 162, Edward Taylor, expounded thoughts extensively in order to realize the truth regarding God’s creatures is the origin of puritan to understanding God. For instance, his meditations ‘to prove thou art, and that thou art the best and shew thy properties to shine bright’ provides concrete evidence on the level of belief that the poet had on God.
I agree that this search of thought eventually resulted to contemplative poetry that led to religious and philosophical facts beyond the puritan fraternity. However, despite the glory that his meditations laud on God, it extends to initiate a different approach to historical and religious aspects. This approach covers on the experiences and emotions of human beings as he stages the responses and reactions of man to his maker. And I believe this faith is practiced by Mary Rowlandson's in her writing of her capture when she laments "I was not willing to run away, but desire and the many earnest requests of others put up unto God for me”. This faith is applicable to Taylor who also regards God as the ultimate source and end. Other poets who have incorporated such theories include Roy Harvey, Norman S. Grabo and Louis Martz. This group of reviewers has helped to add in further insights on the dual roles that Taylor observes as a poet.
In relation to Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative of the Captivity on her experiences as a puritan, she is a staunch puritan and believer of biblical reference of "When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee". This is believed to be the source of reinforcing faith in the population and also understanding God. According to (Perkins and Perkins 125), Rowlandson depicts to the puritan society that God was indeed with her during her time of need. Her standstill supports an earlier consideration by Edward ...
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