Write a critical note on the ideology of Puritanism reflected in American Literature.(500 words)

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, a critical and short note on such a topic can encompass a book or two.  It should be noted that what is generated here is meant to serve as a potential starting point of further research and thought.  The Puritanical search for purity and its intolerance for anything short of it helps to leave a significant mark on American Literature.  The notion of being born into original sin, and yet striving for spiritual perfection and complete affirmation and absolution from the creator when it is known that this is impossible helped to bring the gap between what is and what will never be into American thought and literature.  The idea of being able to set oneself up for a fruitless spiritual quest was an element that was brought out in Puritan times and one manipulated into other works of American Literature.  Miller, himself, played with this theme in his plays, "The Crucible," where spiritual perfection ended up serving as a pretense for political and moral manipulation, and "Death of a Salesman," where the pursuit of an illusory American Dream predicated on wealth ends in a failure.  There are other examples of this Puritanical streak of setting oneself up for failure in being measured against an impossible standard.