Early American Writers
In the literature of early American writers there is one common trait
among all the writings: religion. Among Anne Bradstreet and Jonathan Edwards
all speak of their opinion of religion, god, heaven, and material things.
Anne Bradstreet was a puritan wife, originally from England but then
moved to America. Upon moving and settling into her home, her poems became full
of emotion and spoke about concerns from her heart. She was religious and
believed that men had superiority over women.
A common concern in these religious writers was the unimportance of
material things on Earth. In Bradstreet's Upon the Burning of Our House July
10th, 1666, her house was burned to the ground. Nevertheless, she did not shed
to many tears because she knew that "Thou hast an house on high erect," meaning
that her real home was in heaven. She found comfort in god and her belief in
her made her strong and able to move on in her life. When she starts thinking
about all her possessions that she had lost she would "Raise up thy thoughts
above the sky . . . " and remember these things do not matter, what matters is
her "house on high."
Jonathan Edwards also found comfort in god, "leading me to sweet
contemplations of my great and glorious God." Jonathan was also a puritan from
the early America, however, he was a preacher.
Like Anne Bradstreet, he did not believe in material things. In his
sermon entitle Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,
he states "now they see that those things on which they depended for peace and
safety were nothing but thin air and empty shadows." This statement agrees with
what Bradstreet believed in, that nothing (possessions) is important on Earth.
If a person has depended on those things for all your life and then they are
suddenly taken away from you, you will not know what to do.
However, unlike Bradstreet, he portrays god as angry for all the sins of
man and ready to punish them for their sins. He says "The God that holds you
over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over
the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns
like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the
fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten
thousand times more abominable in his eyes than the most hateful venomous
serpent is in our..." He makes people fear god, fearful of ever sinning, and
afraid of burning in the fiery pits of hell. He states that "There is nothing
between you and Hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God
that holds you up." Religion has defiantly influenced Jonathan Edward's writings.
Anne Bradstreet and Jonathan Edwards were both early American writers
who contained a common charecteristic in their writtings. Both of these puritan
writers have strong thought about religion and did not hold back these thoughts
in their writings.