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Using evidence from American literature, describe the religious, domestic, and...

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mrsniffles3 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM via web

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Using evidence from American literature, describe the religious, domestic, and political aspects of the Puritan world  in the 17th century.

I am supposed to use evidence from American Literature texts to explain the various aspects of the Puritan world:  religious, domestic, political.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 18, 2011 at 10:03 AM (Answer #1)

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Puritan society was basically one in which religion, politics, and domestic affairs, were all guided by one basic belief: that God was an ever wrathful and judging God, that He had "selected" (or predestined) individuals to go to Heaven, and though no one truly knew if they were saved or damned, they lived as though their every action was indicative of their fate.  In short, these people lived in fear of eternal judgement.  As a result, politics and religion were nearly one and the same.  The ministers and governors were revered for their sense of "holiness" and therefore made the rules and consequences, and acted as judges for citizen behavior.  Citizens meanwhile, did their best to live lowly, humble, and hardworking lives, not drawing attention to themselves negatively or positively.

Some texts which help portray the above ideas in better detail include almost anything by Nathanial Hawthorne, but especially The Scarlet Letter, William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation, and Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.  Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," though not specifically about Puritans, also provides a similar picture of life, religion, and politics, coming together in an extremist way.

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