Essay about Hannah Blakeney

Submitted By OleMissGirl95
Words: 955
Pages: 4

Hannah Blakeney
Early American Lit-Section 4
Reading Response Essay
Dr. Cantrell/Rachel Cason
14 March 2015
Representations of the Puritans Anne Bradstreet, Thomas Morton, Mary Rowlandson, William Bradford, and Nathaniel Hawthorn were authors who all wrote their own representations of the Puritans. A few of these writers portrayed them as good, caring people and others portrayed them as evil, chaotic people. Each writer has their own representation of the puritans based on their own life experiences and situations. All but one these authors would disagree with Nathaniel Hawthorne on the true nature of the Puritans in America. Mary Rowlandson shows the puritans as people who believe whole-heartedly in God. She describes them as people who believe God controls everything and He is the reason everything happens. In her narrative, she asserts, “the strange providence of God, in turning things about when the Indians were at the highest, and the English at the lowest” (Rowlandson 284); or simply put, that the reason the British army does not defeat the Indians sooner is because God has decided the puritans do not deserve freedom yet. In comparison, Hawthorn describes puritans as “pious people, these elders of the church, these chaste dames and dewy virgins, there were men of dissolute lives and women of spotted fame, wretches given over to all mean and filthy vice, and suspected even of horrid crimes” (Hawthorne 393); or unruly and chaotic people who perform rituals in the woods. I believe Mary Rowlandson would have strongly disagreed with Nathaniel Hawthorn and his representation of the puritans. William Bradford’s writing is also comparable to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s in that Bradford describes the puritans as calm, civil people. Bradford believes Puritans are only searching for religious freedom. Bradford describes puritans as people who were “hunted and persecuted on every side, so as their former afflictions were but as flea-bitings in comparison of these which now came upon them. For some where taken and clapped up in prison…and watched day and night” (Bradford 123). In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing we see puritans described almost as though they were savages and in Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation we see puritans described as a calm people who go about their own business. In Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” puritans are described as “fiend worshipers” who use witchcraft and believe in human sacrifice (Hawthorne 394). I do not think Bradford would have agreed with Hawthorne’s representation of the puritans at all. We can also compare Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” to Thomas Morton’s New English Canaan. Thomas Morton makes the puritans out to be a people who drink and have celebrations with the Native Americans. He runs his plantation in a very ‘laid back’ sort of way where there are not any rules. At his plantation, they “drink and be merry, merry, merry” with the Natives Americans (Morton 160). I think that Morton may be one of the few authors who portrayed the puritans just as Nathaniel Hawthorne did in “Young Goodman Brown.” The puritans are described as disorderly and barbaric in Morton’s and Hawthorne’s stories. In Morton’s story the puritans drink and have celebrations all the time, and in Hawthorne’s story they practice witchcraft and human sacrifice. I believe that, on some level, Morton would have agreed with Hawthorne’s representation of the Puritans because, in both representations, the Puritans were portrayed as less-than-Christian people. Anne Bradstreet is another author whose portrayal of the Puritans is different from Hawthorne’s portrayal of them. Bradstreet portrays the puritans as good people in the same way that Bradford and Rowlandson do. She describes them as a pleasant, peaceful people, whereas Hawthorne portrayed them as Barbaric, lawless, and primitive. Bradstreet describes them as…