Introduction to American Literature
EN2230 – Fall/Winter 2011/2012 – Geoff Hamilton
Lecture 2 – Religious Foundations – Sept 14
- The puritans were some of the early settlers (European) of the new world.
o They were looking for a place to practice their religion freely.
o The puritans were seeking the ‘American dream’ where they could worship
o Extremely devout believers.
o They were existent in purifying the worship of god; they thought the way
he was being worshiped in England, etc., was not pure.
- Winthrop text:
o Born just a decade or more after William Shakespeare.
o There is very little settlement in the new world at this time.
o To want to go to the new world is an extremely courageous act, you don’t
know what could happen when you’re there and you can have issues on
the way there.
o You can sense how strong their sense of self is and you can tell how
important it is to them.
o Delivers the sermon on the ship – just before its left.
o The importance of the bible cannot be missed.
o Sermon is divided into two parts
Part 1 – generic message of the Christian faith, of the followers.
♦ Page 80 – inch and a half down the page – where the
questions and answers starts. ‘What rule must we
• He rejects another American principle – capitalism.
• Expecting to find strong emphasis on principles that
we now consider ‘American’.
• Instead – it explains the opposite; says that the whole
is much more important that the individual; the
community is more important than the individual.
• He explains that Christians have corrupted the
worship of the Christian god and we now had to fix
the beliefs and teachings.
♦ Page 82 – final full paragraph – ‘The next consideration is
how this love…’
• Christ comes to you whenever he wants.
• That grace is important determinacies of the lies of
• That one can’t figure out what it is about – and that
people are subject to God’s will. • The era of Adam, the era of Christ and the era of the
new settlement of the Americans; this is as important
as the transformation of Adam and Christ.
• America is supposed to be that – it’s supposed to
change the world for ever.
Part 2 – how the worship of god is going to be purified by the
people he is leading and how this settlement is going to show the
rest of the world.
♦ Page 86 – the second full paragraph – ‘Now the only way to
avoid this ship wreck…’
• The indication of the ship wreck has a literal and
− He’s trying to acknowledge the sense of
danger that they all faced and to remind them
that there’s a reason for what they’re about to
♦ Page 86 – near the bottom – ‘For we must consider that we
shall be like a city upon a hill…’
• The whole world is watching – the world depends on
what happens in the new world.
• Idea of ascendency.
- Rowlandson Text:
o Introduction to text:
Natives are represented as monsters and are represented as
‘people from hell’.
Shows that the natives are smarter than the settlers, they have the
man power and they are fighting.
Get the idea that the natives are an enemy that needs to be
respected and feared because they are frightening.
One sided story – ‘in media res’- it means that you start in the
middle of things.
Other commentators have given more information from the
beginning, they provide more context, but Rowlandson starts in the
middle and she wants us to realize that they are just angry, native
This attack was something that she could have anticipated the
She’s trying to paint a black and white picture as dramatically as
possible, the narratives are meant to be demons.