American Literature has taken many twists and turns over the centuries. From the beginning of America and its colonies to late 1800s, the four periods of Literature have risen and fallen as time has progressed. An era where God’s way was the only way to live quickly shaped a nation and created thinkers. Every period of American Literature is a response to the previous time frame.Puritan beliefs lead to Colonialism because of its obscurity and hypocrisy.
Puritanism is a religious reform that originated within the church of England in the late sixteenth century, which later spread to the Northern English Colonies in the New World. The Puritans sought to purify the Church of England because “King Henry VIII repudiated papal authority and transformed the Church of Rome into a state Church of England” (Heimert et. al). However the Church retained some of the liturgy and ritual of Roman Catholicism and, seemed to many dissenters, as an insufficiently reformed Church (Heimert et. al).
The Puritans strictly followed the Bible because they believed that God had formed a unique covenant and expected them to live by the scriptures. Puritanism in American literature reflects the passionate beliefs they had during their time period. The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is an example of this need to remain true to their beliefs. The people could not see that Abigail Williams and the other girls would lie.
Instead, the people believe that they are possessed, or have ¨the Devil? mark!¨ Even at the point where the truth can come out between John Proctor and Abigail, the scene becomes chaotic when Abigail claims to hear spirits sent by the Devil. Her words are seen as true, even though the audience knows otherwise. Miller wrote the characters in The Crucible to show how deep the Puritans held onto their beliefs, no matter what. It is for this reason, to remain faithful, and many others that Europeans wanted to flee and worship God in their own way.The Puritan belief expediting the people’s desire to escape to the New World. The Europeans refused to ¨Compromise passionately held religious convictions and fled Europe. The New England colonies.
..were conceived and established ´as plantations of religion.´ Some settlers who arrived in these areas came for secular motives to worship God in the way they believed to be correct¨(Loc.gov). The colonists sailed to America to escape religious persecution and for better opportunities as time went on.
Although the colonies got most of their freedom of religion, they were still bound by British rule therefore the colonies wanted their independence from Britain. Great Britain taxed the colonist harshly and “By 1774, the year leading up to the Revolutionary War, trouble was brewing in America. Parliament had been passing laws placing taxes on the colonists in America.” (NCpedia). There had been acts set forth by Britain to collect as much tax money as possible.
The Sugar Act was placed in 1764, the Stamp Act the following year, and a variety of other laws that increased taxes for Colonist. The colonists, of course, did not like these laws. Many authors such as Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin focused their writings around independence and given time the colonies would revolt against Great Britain and fight for their independence which they successfully did in 1773. With a brand new nation born and thousands of miles of wilderness, the Americans wanted more therefore many authors expanded beyond the land through the use of Romantic Literature. Romanticism started after colonialism and the revolution because the colonist simply wanted to explore and go beyond.
The Romantic Era lasted between 1820-1860 and in those years many Romanticist were born and influenced. There are two main sides of Romanticism, light romanticism (or transcendentalism), a more colorful philosophy on life, was a more rational side of human nature and gothic romanticism, the non rational side of human nature, tended to emphasize the unknown and create an atmosphere of fear within their audiences. A certain author, well known for their writing, based his work heavily on gothic romanticism and he even went as far as portraying his life in his poem. Alone by Edgar Allan Poe, depicts a narrator looking back on their childhood and conveying feelings of loneliness and not fitting in. This has lead many to believe thats he is portraying his childhood because his father left his mother, his mother died of tuberculosis when he was the age of three and was left dirt poor by his foster father. Poe was an extraordinary Romantist…(ADD TRANSITION) Realism is about portraying ordinary life and “is about giving the reader the big picture… tends to be associated with the novel genre, which is huge and flexible.
” (Campbell). Realist wrote everything as they saw it and even something as simple as a TALK ABOUT REALISM.As it seems, the period of American Literature fits chronologically in order as a response to one another. Over the centuries American Literature has never remained static and has evolved greatly in those years.
Puritanism lead to Colonialism because the Europeans wanted freedom from religious persecution. After they achieved freedom of religion, they wanted freedom of Britain’s grasp, leading to a revolution. In response, many authors wrote pieces of Literature focused around independence. After winning the war, the colonist wanted even more and it was there were Romanticism and realism began. All eras of Literature were simply a response to one another as America changed, and people changed.