In the colonial period, America was just starting to form and the people were just beginning to brainstorm ways of uniform life to live. Many looked to religion and focused their writing to center around God while others believe in Rationalism and the arts of “Science, Ethics, and Government”. American literature seemed to have three staple points that defined the times: God and religion (Puritanism), creation stories, and finally Rationalism.
The biggest focus in colonial American culture centered around God and the church. People devoted their writing and lives to a religion that was formed around the new testament of the bible because there was a common belief that “uniform religion made a society”. These people were called Puritans, and they fought to cherish and preserve their ideals of religion with an iron fist. An example of the strong belief that people had in God was the ferocity ...view middle of the document...
In the poem, Anne’s house burned down which would evoke sorrow in any human. In the colonial times however, people believed that God did everything for a reason which can be seen when Anne says: “And when I could no longer look,/ I blest His name that gave and took,/ That laid my goods now in the dust./ Yea, so it was, and so ‘twas just./ It was his own, it was not mine,/ Far be it that I should repine;/ He might of all justly bereft/ But yet sufficient for us left.”. She makes it known that she is okay with what happened because it was God’s and he left her with enough. In colonial American culture, the big focus was around serving God and being pure so that you did not suffer the wrath when your time on earth was up.
Another big part of colonial American Culture was creation stories, specifically from the American Indians. While European Americans believed in the Christian God, American Indians focused more around nature. They believed that entities from the sky and ground found ways to create the society that came to be. For example, one myth that was studied was “The Sky Tree” where the piling of dirt upon a turtle's back created the earth.
Finally, there were the Rationalist. The rationalists believe in the world now instead of books and religions from times ago. Rationalist believe in rights, reasons, and laws so that the progression of the people on earth lead to the progress of change for the better-- “social evils could be corrected, superstition and ignorance ended, and general quality of existence improved”. A good example of Rationalism is the writing of Benjamin Franklin, who wrote about virtues that would help him to achieve moral perfection. This exemplifies the idea of Rationalism-- leading the human race to perfection by using the here and now instead of religion.
Puritanism, Creation stories, and Rationalism were the biggest parts of the colonial period. They led America to be more creative and think about their past. Through religion, myths of our past, and reason Americans got a foothold on the beginning of their literary periods.