Religious beliefs have historically influenced the way people think about the world and as a result the way they write about it. This is particularly evident in the early years of American history, as reflected in the ninth edition of The Norton Anthology of American Literature.
When comparing how religious beliefs influenced two texts from this collection, consider how the authors use religious ideas to make a particular point. For example, the anthology contains a letter from Christopher Columbus to Ferdinand and Isabella regarding his fourth voyage. In this letter, Columbus draws upon Ferdinand and Isabella’s belief in God to encourage the conquering of newly discovered lands. The anthology also includes writings by the Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet, who encouraged devotion to God as a means of perseverance through difficult times. Both Bradstreet and Columbus are drawing upon religious ideas to encourage their reader to take certain actions. However, Bradstreet is using religion in a different way than Columbus because she is celebrating its power while Columbus is drawing on its power it to encourage political action.