Puritanism and Romanticism differ in style, religious references, and plot content. Puritanism began to flourish with strict God-fearing Calvinists who had fled to America to escape religious persecution in Europe. With writers such as William Bradford and Edward Taylor, Puritan literature focuses on God's role in the lives of the people and adopts a simple religious style of writing. Romanticism was introduced to Americans in the nineteenth century, delivering a fresh literary and artistic style. This new literature pays more attention to the elements of tone, mood, and atmosphere, while also applying religion in the form of transcendentalism. These two types of literature are similar in the respect that they both encourage living simply.
Puritan writers were concerned more with the message the literature portrayed than with form and dramatic elements. "Poetry was used to educated its reader, and was written using simple rhythm and common images" (Heimert 34). Puritan literature was plain in style. Much attention focused on God's will in the new world, man's relation to God, the nature of faith, and the history of New England. We can see these elements in the writings of William Bradford, the Governor of the Plymouth colony. "Of Plymouth Plantation" is considered to be New England's first literary achievement. It "is an historical account of the journey to the new world, and the hardships encountered upon arrival" (Fritscher 81). This poem was written to "preserve both the record and the fact of Plymouth's separate identity" (Heimert 51). Bradford's objective was to preach God's purpose in the founding of the Plymouth colony.
"Of Plymouth Plantation" has two major themes: how Plymouth had failed the original goal of e...
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...uestioning of reason and nature separated him from the Puritans. Yet both Romanticism and Puritanism are similar with their respect for simplicity, while they differ in many other ways.
Boewe, Charles. "Rappaccini's Garden." American Literature. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1959.
Fritscher, John. "The Sensibility and Conscious Style of Willaim Bradford." Bucknell Review. 1969.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories. New York: Dover Publications, INC. 1992.
Heimer, Alan. The Puritans in America: A Narrative Anthology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985.
Leone, Bruno, ed. Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne. San Diego: Greenhave Press, 1996.
McPherson, Hugo. Hawthorne as a Myth-Maker: A Study in the Imagination. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989.
Morison, Samuel. Of Plymouth Plantation. New York, Knopf, 1952.
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