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Early American Literature

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Presentation on theme: "Early American Literature"— Presentation transcript:

1 Early American Literature
Colonial Period Early American Literature

2 Native American Literature
The earliest American Literature was composed by Native Americans. Much of Native American Literature was passed down orally. Native American tales were often mythological and/or folktales, such as Trickster tales.

3 Exploration Literature
Once explorers began to travel to the New World, they chronicled their experiences in the form of diaries and letters home. Often, the diaries and letters were propaganda designed to increase settlers’ interest in the land.

4 The Puritans The term “Puritan” was applied to two groups of people who believed that: 1) They should separate themselves from the “corrupt” Church of England” or 2) The Church of England needed reform

5 Puritan Beliefs Predestination Covenant of Works Covenant of Grace
Covenant of Redemption

6 Predestination God has chosen certain few of the “elect” for salvation. Unlike other Christians, they believed faith alone was not enough. Whether or not you were “saved” could be determined by your behavior—if you acted in a holy manner, it was assumed you were saved.

7 Covenant of Works God promised Adam and his progeny eternal life if they obeyed moral law. Adam broke this covenant.

8 Covenant of Grace Once Adam broke the Covenant with God, He created a new covenant with Abraham. Punishment for sins is considered a proper response to disobedience.

9 Covenant of Redemption
Puritans believed that Jesus freely offered himself as a sacrifice on behalf of all people. God must accept Jesus’s sacrifice as a representative for all people.

10 What the Puritans Did Established settlements in Massachusetts, including Plymouth and Boston. Influenced America’s system of laws and morals. Wrote in “plain style”—writing unadorned with figurative language.

11 Salem Witch Trials In 1692, Salem, MA. experienced the witchcraft hysteria, which had been plaguing Europe for some time. Before the Salem Witch Trials ended, 185 people would be accused of the sin of witchcraft. Of those accused, 20 were executed. Arthur Miller wrote an account of the trials called The Crucible.

12 Puritan Literature Histories: William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation Poetry: Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor Sermons: Jonathan Edwards Biographies: Mary Rowlandson’s kidnapping account “Tracts”: Increase Mather, Cotton Mather

13 The Scarlet Letter Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, published in 1850.
Hawthorne descended from Salem Witch Trials judge John Hathorne (N. Hawthorne added the “w” for clarification in pronunciation). A sense of guilt over the actions of his ancestors compelled him to write many times on Puritan themes. The Scarlet Letter is set in the mid-1600’s, during the Puritan era in Boston.

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