Early American Literature of New England and Virginia

Essay by hopearusUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2004

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The colonization of the New World from 1620-1700 brought many historical changes. There was much to say and much was written in this time of establishment. They wrote of opportunity and dreams. New England and Virginia produced many notable writers during the colonization of America, and in the literature of this time we get a glimpse of how these two regions lived their lives and how it affected the themes of their writing.

Puritan Separatists, who came seeking religious freedom, largely populated New England. The people of this region relied on many things for survival such as, farming, fishing, and shipbuilding. Their farms were usually just large enough to feed their family. New Englanders fashion their life and their beliefs upon their religion, which made them a very family orientated people. The poetry of Ann Bradstreet includes many in loving dedication to her husband and children. Another well-known Puritan writer of this period, Mary Rowlandson (c.1635-c.1678)

was captured and held as a prisoner by the Wampanoag Indians in 1675. In the re-telling of her captivity she frequently conveyed her faith in God and in her beliefs. In the Puritan belief system captivity would be viewed as a part of Gods test and judgement. When she writes " Its good for me that I have been afflicted." (151). She is agreeing that God has sent her this challenge to teach her something. The passage "Yet the Lord still showed mercy to me and as He wounded me with one hand, He healed me with the other", (139) shows an unfailing belief in her Puritan values. To them, reason is found in God even in sorrow. To Puritans, the message of God and their relationship with him was the most important thing to convey in their use of literature.

Settlers coming...