Comparison of Early American Literature
The two selections Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford and The General History of Virginia by John Smith are some of the earlier pieces of American literature.
Although they were both written in the same time period the style and attitudes vary greatly. William Bradford had a very direct form of writing; commonly known as "plain puritan" style, whereas, John Smith had a somewhat confusing, more elaborate, writing style. Bradford's piece also seemed more accurate than John Smith's account. For example, John Smith wrote of his capture by "...three hundred bowmen, conducted by the king of Pamunkee..." which seems more than a little exaggerated. After all, it generally doesn't take three hundred men to capture one. Smith exaggerated many times in order to boast about himself. There are many times when he refers to his greatness. In the following quote he boasts of his leadership skills and compassion for his fellow men while belittling his superiors: "The new President and Martin, being little beloved, of weak judgment in dangers, and less industry in peace, committed the managing of all things abroad to Captain Smith, who, by his own example, good words, and fair promises, set some to mow, others to bind thatch, some to build houses, others to thatch them, himself always bearing the greatest task for his own share, so that in short time her provided most of them lodgings, neglecting any for himself..."
William Bradford, on the other hand, boasts about his colony: "...there was but six or seven sound persons who to their great commendations, be it spoken, spared no pains night or day, but with abundance of toil and hard of their own health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome...