Synthesis Paper

Submitted By Hudson-Shou
Words: 678
Pages: 3

Hudson Shou
Textual Analysis and Argumentation
December 10, 2014
Puritan Doctrines
Cotton Mather's
Wonders of the Invisible World
, Mary Rowlandson's
Narrative of
Captivity and Restoration
, and Anne Bradstreet's
For Deliverance from a Fever present three similar views on the the relationship between God and man. Written during early colonial
America all three writers were devout Puritans and expressed similar views on the all powerful nature of the Christian god and the submission of man to God’s divine will. The three poems also focus on the constant insubordination of man to God as God’s merciful and forgiving qualities.
Cotton Mather’s
Wonders of the Invisible World
, published in 1693, is mostly a work defending Mather’s persistent prosecution of the so­called witches during the Salem witch trials.
The work centered around Mather’s fundamental belief in “spectral evidence”. This allows the afflicted to accuse the ghost of the defendant was tormenting them and was considered evidence of witchcraft by the defendant even if the defendant professed to have strong held Christian beliefs. Mather himself saw witches as pawns of Satan’s plan to “overturn this poor plantation, the Puritan colony” and prosecuting the witches as a way to secure God’s blessings for the colony. Mather also believed that the witches were a tribulation sent by God himself to test the resolve and dedication of the Puritan people. Through the
Wonders of the Invisible World
also touched upon God’s mercy at allowing the undeserving humans to gain a chance at redemption, albeit at the cost of the livelihoods of innocent men and women.

Mary Rowlandson’s “Narrative of Captivity and Restoration, like the “Wonders of the
Invisible World” also presented many ideas associated with enduring divine suffering to achieve salvation. The “Narrative of Captivity and Restoration revolves around two central themes, the uncertainty of life and the centrality of God’s divine will. The sudden attacks on the colonies and
Rowlandson’s captivity and well as the death of her daughter teaches Rowlandson of the instability and briefness of life. During her captivity the Indians may treat her kindly one day and punish her savagely without reason. Rowlandson also stresses the importance of God’s will and grace. She compares herself to numerous Biblical figures including Job, Daniel, and the
Israelites. Throughout her entire journey she is at the mercy of God’s divine will and argues that humans have no choice but to submit to God’s unfathomable plans for man.
Anne Bradstreet’s “For Deliverance from a Fever” also focuses on the punishment inflicted by God upon man. The beginning of the poem is dedicated to describing Bradstreet's intense suffering and wonders if the