American Literature - 1 Essay

Submitted By alsal1131
Words: 843
Pages: 4

The Early American Colonial and Revolutionary Era Literature
From the early American Colonial era to the Revolutionary era, the dominant literary theme changed gradually from religion to science. In the early Colonial American period, Puritans were a group of people who wrote letters, poetry and autobiographies. Later in America came the Revolutionary period when writers left behind the puritan literacy. They would no longer write about religious themes. By this period people were fascinated with science. Benjamin Franklin referred to science as natural philosophy and would refuse to talk about religion. Thomas Jefferson wrote his autobiography in the Revolutionary period. The transfer to scientific themes, from religious ones was the major difference between the Revolutionary and Early American Colonial literature.
In the early Colonial period, Puritans were a group of people that came to North America and believed they were pure and therefore anyone that came to North America had to follow their rules or leave. Puritans mainly wrote about religion, crime, violence, killing and damnation. They believed that God had to be worshipped. Puritans felt like they were getting attacked by the devil and that the devil wanted to destroy them. Some puritans even felt like they were being tormented by spirituality. Anne Bradstreet was a Puritan woman that wrote poetry dedicated to her husband and children. As a child she suffered from poor health and almost died. However, she believed that God got her sick to get her attention. Her father was Thomas Dudley the Governor of Massachusetts. She married at age sixteen. Bradstreet wrote poetry and letters to her husband in his absence and a poem dedicated to her children. In her “Contemplations” poem she wrote about nature, oak trees, birds, fish and the green fields. Although she held Nature in high esteem, she did not forget that the one we need to give credit to is God. Most Puritans who wrote this kind of literature were killed in Bradstreet’s time. However, the reason why she was able to get away with this kind of writing about nature, many believe, was because her father was the governor of Massachusetts. After the early Colonial period came the Revolutionary period.
By this time, writers left behind the religious writing because they were now fascinated with science and nature. Benjamin Franklin called it “The Age of Experiments.” Thomas Jefferson was another writer of this period. Franklin was an intelligent and rich man who wrote an autobiography and helped write the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Franklin was an inventor; one of the things he invented was the “Franklin Stove.” He also had a few anecdotes, one of them was the “Humble Inquire” and the other one was the “Fish Anecdote.” Franklin had two powerful strengths at his advantage, which were his reading and writing skills. However, his vocabulary was not that great, so his father told him that writing poetry would improve his vocabulary. Poetry never caught on with Franklin, though, because he knew he was not good at it. In his autobiography he wrote about subjects that other writers would never write about. He mentions that he cheated and lied. Franklin was a fair man; he would never talk bad about those that did him wrong or that harmed him. He wanted to