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Studying American Literary Movements For The Cset English Exam?

Literature of America touches on handwriting or literature developed in the United States of America (Colonial America).

In the beginning, America was a lot of British settlements on the eastern coast of the U.S.A. Consequently, its literary tradition begins as joined to the panoptic tradition of English literature. Notwithstanding, distinctive American qualities and the breadth of its production usually now make it a independent course and tradition.

Puritanism and Early American Literature

Two Significant New England Colonies:

The Plymouth Colony

Mayflower comes in 1620
Leader – William Bradford
Colonists acknowledged as Pilgrims and Separatists
Mayflower Compact institutes economic, social, and religious freedom, while preserving links to Great Britain.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony

Arbella comes in 1630
Leader – John Winthrop
Colonists are generally Puritans
Arbella Covenant clearly institutes a spiritual and theocratic settlement, free of ties to Great Britain.

Puritan Opinion

Depravity – because of the fall of Adam and Eve everyone is sinful – construct of First Sin.

Blunt Choice – God delivers those He wants – only some are ordained for salvation – construct of foreordination.

Special Expiation – The Lord Jesus died for the selected exclusively, not for the people.

Resistless Grace – God’s grace is given freely, it is not attained. Grace is defined as the saving and transfiguring power of God.

Relapsing – The belief that saved worshippers, those displaying conspicuous signs of grace, can fall into temptation and become sinners. To prevent this from happening, believers were expected not to become self-satisfied, engage in constant self-evaluation, and constant prayer. The Prince of Darkness was particularly concerned in snaring such church members.

Puritan Writers Function

To praise God.

To metamorphose a mysterious God – mysterious because He is set-apart from the world.

To claim God more related to the world.

The Style of Puritan Writing

Puritan’s literature echoed the persona and backdrop of the reading public, which was literate and well-educated in religion.

Protestant – against ornateness; deep respect of the Bible.

Famous Literary Writers of the Time

William Bradford (March 19, 1590 May 9, 1657) was a principal of the separatist colonists of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, and was chosen thirty times to be the Governor. He was the principal architect of the Mayflower Compact. He is credited as the first to exclaim what mainstream American culture now deems the first Thanksgiving.

Anne Bradstreet (1612 September 16, 1672) was the first female American writer to have her works published. Most of Anne’s poems are founded on observation of the world around her, centering mainly on housewifely and religious motifs. Once considered mostly of historical interest, she won critical acceptance in the 20th century as a writer of enduring rhyme, particularly for her series of religious poems called “Contemplations”, which was not published until the mid-19th century and written for her family.

Captain John Smith (1580 June 21, 1631), was an English author, soldier, and sailor. He is remembered for his part in establishing the first permanent English colony in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and his short-lived association with the Native American girl Pocahontas during a fracas with the Powhatan Confederacy and her father, Chief Powhatan. John Smith’s books are as significant as his actions, for they encouraged more English men and women to start a new and better life in the New World. Smith gave the name New England to that region, and encouraged people with the comment, “Here every man may be master and owner of his owne labour and land…If he have nothing but his hands, he may…by industrie quickly grow rich.” It was a powerful sentence, which pulled in millions of people to America over the next four centuries.

Samuel Sewall (March 28, 1652 – January 1, 1730), was a Massachusetts judge, well-known for his involvement in the Salem Witch Trials, for which he later apologized, and his denouncement of slavery in “The Selling of Joseph”.

Michael Wigglesworth (October 18, 1631 – June 10, 1705) was a Puritan minister and poet whose “The Day of Doom” was a best seller in early New England. He thought that he was basically not suitable to believe in God as a result of only being human. When he underwent a series of nocturnal emissions as a young man, he was then convinced of his own damnation. Through his diaries, he recalls his struggle to remain good and pure, despite repeatedly relapsing into what he perceived as man’s instinctive corruption.

This article is an excerpt from ACE the CSET English study guide and online course. In the course, we study all 13 authors of the Puritan period and continue on through the late twentieth century postmodernism literary period. The CSET English course has computer generated chronology, fill-in, and matching exercises that make it possible for you to quickly memorize the information you need to pass the American literature section of the CSET English exam.

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About the Author:
Peter Lorison is a education administrator and critic for ACE the CSET English Study Guide and Online course which is the better way to prepare for the CSET English test.