Mid Term Critical Analysis
Mid Term Essay Exam Section I: Literature through 1700 In both the poem “Contemplations” by Anne Bradstreet and William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation, nature is a main subject.Both poems are interested in nature’s role in people’s (especially Christian’s) lives, whether it be negative or positive.The question that comes to mind is nature a chaotic wilderness, the physical evidence of Satan’s meddling, or is it the marvelous examples of the works of God? Bradford believed very firmly that is the former.
“The traditional Puritan view of nature (which the Separatists shared as well) was very negative.
Bradford did not view nature through a romantic lens, but rather he saw it as evidence of Satan at work in the world. ” He believed that as Satan would “sow errours, heresies and wonderful dissensions amongst the professors themselves,” he was in fact the creator of confusion and disorder in the natural world. Bradford saw America as a forbidden wasteland, a direct reflection of the spiritual chaos. In the poem “Of Plymouth Planation”, he wrote that the Pilgrims, after reaching the New World, found a “hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men. Bradford compared the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World to Moses and the Israelites, but America, in being untamed, was not the Promise Land they had pictured. Instead it was a place of chaos and danger, “full of woods and thickets, [representing] a wild and savage hue. ” In Bradford’s mind, this new land became the wilderness the Israelites wandered in for forty years, but unlike Moses, the Pilgrims had no consolation, and neither could they, as it were, view this as a more goodly country.
According to Bradford, this made nature a kind of spiritual trial at best, and a very hostile and demon like land. From Bradford’s point of view nature was a fallen world. The lack of order and stability was both threatening and representative of the contamination of sin to all Creation. The “civil parts of the world” where nature had been conquered and tamed, paved over into cities or manicured gardens was the ideal. This is because both the Puritans and Pilgrims saw order as reflective of reason and a spiritual understanding. The Puritans had a great thought to control and understand.
Even though both Bradford and Bradstreet looked at nature and saw something else beyond it, the spiritual world in her poem “Contemplations,” Bradstreet saw nature as being a pale reflection. Instead of nature being evidence of Satan’s presence in a fallen world, it is an example of the power and glory of the God who created it. It is one of the few ways that humans can catch a glimpse of the Creator’s omnipotence. Nature, from Bradstreet’s view, is a beautiful, impressive, and while it remained a part of a larger, spiritual picture, it is a positive figure and representative of God.
Bradstreet devoted much of “Contemplations” to nature’s awareness of aesthetic properties. She begins the poem by describing the trees in autumn, describing them as having an air of humble majesty, “Their leaves and fruits seemed painted, but was true of green, of red, of yellow mixed hue. ” She admired the sun as it had control over night and day as well as the seasons. She also sees nature that praises God. She referred to grasshoppers and crickets, describing their seemingly harmonized song as “they kept one tune and played on the same string. Bradstreet makes it very clear that even though nature is beautiful, it cannot compare to the glories of God. She illustrated this with the long life of the oak tree, asking “hath hundred winters past since thou was born? / Or thousand since though breakest thy shell of horn? ” before continuing to say that those numerous years mean nothing in the face of eternity. She continued to point this out later by describing the continual re-birth of the world as the seasons come and go, how “the earth (though old) still clad in green/… insensible of time/Nor age nor wrinkle… re seen,” whereas man lives for little more than a moment (and during that time suffers and grows old) in comparison to the ancientness of the earth. Bradstreet, in comparison to Bradford, see nature as not only evidence of God’s glory rather than that the confusion and disorder of Satan and also she thinks of it almost as a living entity that is capable of praising and worshiping its creator as well. To her, nature is not a trial to be overcome and conquered, but rather an example of a learning tool that not only brings pleasure to the senses, but the soul as well.
I think Anne Bradstreet was more effective in how you used her poem “Contemplations” in describing nature. In the third stanza she talks about her eye catching sight of the “stately Oak” and addressing the tree she asks “How long since thou wast in thine infancy? The answer might be a hundred or even a thousand years. In stanzas 4-7 she talks about the sun and declares that the sun is an amazing entity. “The more I looked, the more I grew amazed,” And softly said: “What glory’s like to thee? I think her amazement led her to understand how some civilizations considered the sun a god: “Soul of this world, this universe’s eye, No wonder some made thee a deity. ” In stanzas 8-10 she looks at the sky and thinks about what song she could sing to offer glory to her maker, but feels dumbfounded at the prospect of adding glory to such a powerful spirit. In stanza 9, she hears the crickets and grasshoppers singing and writes: “Whilst I, s mute, can warble forth no higher lays? ” In stanzas 21-33 she recalls sitting by the river and being reminded that the river is searching for and ever traveling toward the ocean.
In stanzas 20-26 she thinks about the creatures of the sea, and how they look and how they fulfill their own destiny.http://www. associatedcontent. com/topic36271/anne-b. html Section II: Literature 1700 through 1820 Part 1: “But the old beliefs did not die easily, and as early as the 1730s conservative reaction against the worldview of the new science and psychology followed as some intellectuals, aware of the new though but intent on maintaining the final truth of revealed religion, resisted the religious implications of Enlightenment principles” (154).
The Great Awakening was a watershed event in the life of the American people and before it was over, it had swept the colonies of the Eastern seaboard, transforming the social and religious life of land. The Great Awakening was actually several revivals in a variety of locations. Neither the Anglicans or Puritans were terribly successful in putting down roots. The problem was the settled parish system of England was difficult to transplant. Unlike communities of the old world, the small farms and plantations of the new spread out into the wilderness, making both communication and ecclesiastical discipline difficult.
People often lived a great distances from a parish church, membership and participation suffered. Because the individual depended on himself for survival, authoritarian structure of any kind, either by government or ecclesiastical, was met with resistance. As a result, by the second and third generations, the vast majority of the population was outside the membership of the church. One person who was one of the principle figures in the Great Awakening was Jonathan Edwards. Edwards had received a bad press for his “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. In this sermon he pointed out that any moment, “our hold on life could break and we’d be plunged into fires of eternal and logically. ” People listened to Edwards because he spoke about what people were interested in. The Puritan’s were growing deeply concerned by what they perceived to be a striking decline in piety. The youth of the second and third generation had inherited the Puritan theocracy, but had begun to forget it, and the older generation was gravely concerned about this development. They had come to this country to found a biblical commonwealth, but their vision did not seem to be shared by community’s youth. ” Another problem weighing on Puritan consciences for a long time was election. The question that was raised why should anyone preach? The decision had been made before the foundation of the world according to Calvinist orthodoxy. “If preaching were simply for the edification of the Saints, then it was like preaching to the choir, in that you were preaching to the already converted. ” As a result, worship attendance had declined.
By surprise there was a great outpouring of response to the preaching of Edwards. This movement surprised people because it produced something that wasn’t expected: people professing conversion. What Edwards said in these sermons was Calvinism. “You can’t control salvation. ” Puritans heard him say, “if you try. God will aid your salvation. ” Edwards talked about “Pressing into the Kingdom”. “It was,” he said, “not a thing impossible. ” By this Edwards referred to God’s power to save whomever he pleases. The Puritans heard it as there was a chance they could achieve election.
Another figure in the Awakening was George Whitefield. He offered a new quality to the prevailing view of how one gains citizenship in the Kingdom of God. According to Whitefield the key test of one’s election was whether one had an emotional experience of conversion. This represented a reaction to the Enlightenment. In essence: Whitefield had reduced Christianity to it’s lowest common denominator, those sinners who love Jesus will go to heaven. Denominational distinctives had been downplayed and this theme was picked by Samuel Davies, one of the leaders of the Awakening in Virginia.
Whitefield mainly preached in terms of everyday experience. Whitefield attacked established ministers for leading their flocks into Hell by not demanding an experience salvation of people, a theme that would be picked up by Gilbert Tennant who preached on the dangers of an unconverted ministry. As a result, the established clergy attacked Whitefield and the unchecked enthusiasm of the revivals. One of the leaders in this counterattack was Charles Chauney who led the attack from the pulpit of First Christ, Boston. Chauney claimed anyone can have a good sermon.
As a result, established preachers could not compete with these itinerant evangelists, and their preaching threatened to undermine loyalty of parishioners. They tended to view these evangelists as ignorant and filed with zeal. Others had carried the revival to extremes like James Davenport who burned books, and claimed to be able to distinguish the elect from the damned. The rising opposition to the Awakening had a major impact on the direction of American Christianity. “The old Puritan synthesis of head and heart—of a religion that appealed to both mind and spirit—broke apart”.
The revivalists had moved in the direction of a greater rationalism in theology. The Awakening began in the North and tended to be an urban phenomenon where highly emotional preaching appeared in Puritan churches. The compromises of the Half-way covenant had been swept aside, and the notion of the church as a body of saints, was reclaimed. The standards of membership had been increased, and yet, membership still rose. In the South, the Great Awakening was more on the frontier phenomenon than was the case in the Middle Colonies or New England.
In the areas that were nominally Anglican (the tidewater) it had very little impact. This was because the residents of the tidewater had just enough religion to inoculate them from catching the real thing, and the authorities were better able to enforce the established church. This was not the case in the piedmont and mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, as the revival had a wide open field. The main reason was the population had very few ties to the Anglican establishment. One of the main leaders of the Awakening in the South was Samuel Davies. The revival in Hanover began when Samuel Morris began to read sermons of
Whitefield and Luther to his neighbors. As a result, conversions were numerous, and special reading houses were built. When Davies arrived the Awakening surged and fought for the legal toleration of dissenters. Another leader in the Awakening was Shubal Stearns who brought the Separate Baptist movement to this region. The Methodists had gained a foothold in the South mainly through the preaching of an Anglican clergyman with Methodist sympathies of Devereux Jarratt. Both the Methodists and Baptists had an advantage over the Presbyterians and surpassed them in numbers.
The main reason was the Presbyterians insisted on an educated ministry and ordered worship. As a result, the Methodists and Baptists were better able to address the needs of frontier communities with lay preachers who could go where there was need, and who could be quickly deployed without waiting for them to complete their education. The Methodists and Baptists were also more open to the emotional and unrestrained nature of worship in the revivals, while Presbyterians were uncomfortable with what they viewed to be the excesses of the revivals.
Some of the results of the Great Awakening to unify 4/5ths of Americans in a common understanding of the Christian faith and life, dissent and dissenters enjoyed greater respect than ever before, education was important, a greater sense of responsibility for Indians and Slaves from the revival of George Whitefield, and it served to revive a sense of religious mission. http://www. wfu. edu/-matthetl/perspectives/four. html Native Americans: Native Americans The Seneca orator known as Red Jacket (1757? 1830), for the red jacket the British awarded him for his services as a message runner during the Revolutionary War. Red Jacket may have had many names, although the only one we know is Sagoyewatha, which means “he keeps the awake. ” After the War of 1812, he was involved in successful negotiations with the Americans to protect Seneca lands in western New York. Among many of his orations, his most famous speech was the reply he gave to the missionary Jacob Cram in 1805. Cram had been sent from Massachusetts to establish a mission station among the Seneca’s. He invited them to assemble at Buffalo Creek, New York.
Through an interpreter, his address developed the assertion that, in Cram’s words, “There is but one religion, and but one way to serve God, and it you do not embrace the right way, you cannot be happy hereafter. ” After appropriate consultation with others of the Seneca delegation, Red Jacket delivered the speech outlining what has been called a “separatist” position-quite simply, the notion that while the ways of white Christians may be fine for them, they are not necessarily equally fine for non-white indigenous peoples who have their own religious beliefs.
Present at Red Jacket’s speech was Erastus Granger, postmaster and Indian agent at Buffalo Creek and cousin to Gideon Granger, Thomas Jefferson’s postmaster. His immediate subordinate was Joseph Parish, who probably served as a translator, as he had done on other occasions. Whoever transcribed the translation of Red Jacket’s speech, it soon appeared in print, in the April 1809 issue of the Monthly Anthology, And was reprinted many times throughout the nineteenth century. In Red Jacket’s Speech to the U. S.
Senate, he made valid points that were tragically true regarding the treatment of Native Americans by the Europeans. Through his words he is never belligerent or accusatory; instead he maintains a peaceful, respectful tone. Red Jacket is a magnificent orator with a strong sense for power of words. The reader is aware of the emotions and beliefs of the Native Americans. Red Jacket spoke to the Senate with a purpose, and by the end of his speech it is clear that he was successful. At the beginning of the speech, Red Jacket addresses his audience as “Friends and Brother” and repeated continually throughout the speech.
I think Red Jacket is trying to create a peaceful atmosphere where his words will be heard. He informed the Senate that while they spoke, the Native Indians listened and requests the same respect in return. As the speech progresses, Red Jacket begins to make good points about the rude and greedy behavior that many of the white settlers relationships with the Native Indians. In the beginning, the Native Americans took pity on their new visitors, providing them with food, welcoming them, and treating them as friends.
Over time, the number of settlers began to increase, as did the amount of land they seized from the Indians. In the speech Red Jacket says, “They wanted more land; they wanted our country. ” When I read this line you can imagine him uttering this line in a powerful but elegant manner. Red Jacket was not there to concede defeat: he was standing up for his people. Even though the settlers had acquired the majority of the Native Americans land, they are still not happy, and this is way Red Jacket came before the Senate.
The settlers craved more, desired to convert the Native Americans to Christians. In the eyes of the Europeans, If you do not embrace Christianity, you will not be happy. This to me sounds strange because many of the settlers who fled to the New World, arrived with the hope of enjoying their religion, and not being persecuted for practicing what they believe. Yet, after their arrival, they began to force their religion upon the Native Americans, informing them that what they believe is wrong. To me, this sounds like hypocritical behavior on behalf of the settlers.
They came to the New World with the intention of freely practicing their religion, and now they are the ones forcing their religion on others. Continuing his speech, Red Jacket discusses more interesting information. One of the points I find fascinating, is when he questions if the religion of the settlers was meant for the Native Americans, why were they not given a book to study from as well. He continues by mentioning that all he knows of this religion is what the settlers tell him, “How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people? In concluding his argument, he poses another question, since all Christians read from the same book, why do they not all agree? He even mentions that the Native Americans also have a religion but they never feud about who is right or wrong. His final plea to the Senate is, “We do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own. ” He is not demanding the settlers to return the land they wrongly claimed as their own, he is simply asking that they allow the Native Americans to practice the religion of their forefathers in peace.