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The Colonial Period in American Literature. English 11 Mrs. Bozinko. The Time Period. Mid 1600’s – 1750 Colonization and survival Religious thought Moral judgment. Northern Settlers: The Pilgrims. Led by William Bradford Fall of 1620 landed in Plymouth, MA

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the time period
The Time Period
  • Mid 1600’s – 1750
  • Colonization and survival
  • Religious thought
  • Moral judgment
northern settlers the pilgrims
Northern Settlers: The Pilgrims
  • Led by William Bradford
  • Fall of 1620 landed in Plymouth, MA
  • Spring of 1621 only 50 survivors
  • Religious reformers
  • Withdrew from church of England
  • Nickname: Separatists (protestant)
the puritans a social and cultural force
The Puritans: A Social and Cultural Force
  • Led by John Winthrop
  • Established Massachusetts Bay Colony 1628
  • Religious Reformers
  • Stayed within Church of England to PURify from within
  • Radical
  • Conservative
  • Nickname: Calvinists
the puritans
The Puritans
  • Most important in American Literature
  • Well educated
  • Primarily middle class
  • Grounded in religious beliefs
  • Believed in Pre-Destination and election
  • Wanted ideal society
  • Is there somewhere better than here?
puritan beliefs
Puritan Beliefs
  • Believed in omnipotent God
  • Believed in unmerciful God
  • Believed in the Bible
  • Believed in Original Sin
  • Believed in Pre-Destination
  • Believed in Education for men AND women
  • Believed in daily workings of God
  • Believed in Puritan work ethic
great awakening
Great Awakening
  • 1730’s
  • Led by Jonathan Edwards and clergy
  • Bring Puritans back
  • Series of tent meetings
  • Greater importance on individual and spiritual experience
covenant theology
Covenant Theology
  • Second religious movement
  • Soften idea of pre-destination
  • Gives control
  • Must do TWO things:
    • Believe in deity
    • Do good deeds on earth
the literature of the puritans
The Literature of the Puritans
  • NO novels
  • NO short stories
  • NO drama
  • Little poetry
  • Mostly ALL nonfiction!
  • Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Jonathan Edwards
the function of puritan writers
The Function of Puritan Writers
  • 1. To instruct people about secular things on a religious level
  • 2. To make God more relevant to the universe.
  • 3. To glorify God.
subject and style
Subject and Style
  • Daily life
  • Simple style of writing
what did they write
What did they write?






Religious studies



Some metaphysical poetry

metaphysical poetry
Metaphysical Poetry
  • England had romantic poetry
  • Difficult and thought provoking
  • Shows man’s place in universe
  • Puritan’s plagiarized English Metaphysical poetry
  • Puritan Poetry = English Metaphysical Poetry
characteristics of metaphysical poetry
Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry

1. Follows a logical pattern; poem as argument




2. Can be intellectual, analytical, psychological

3. Theme: physical death, religion, physical love

4. Diction: Simple word choice

5. Deals with IMAGERY: common place, ordinary

6. Conceit = extended metaphor

the real puritan legacy
The Real Puritan Legacy
  • First free public school
  • Founded Harvard and Yale
  • Set up first printing press in colonies
  • The need for moral justification for private, public, and governmental acts.
  • The Questing for Freedom
  • The Puritan work ethic.
  • fascination with death.
  • The city upon the hill