American Lit. Essay

958 words - 4 pages

Over the course of 300 years America has seen several different styles of culture, writing, and art. As a country it has been through much change in all three of these areas. The one thing that has remained consistent is the literary influence writers and artist living in America during these time periods have over those who follow their works. It seems as though the second these literary/art geniuses put their pen to paper, or brush to canvas the story of the world is told through their eyes. It is amazing to study how as times and surroundings change in America the stories seem to shape with the times.The first major literary period noted in American history is that of the Colonial Period. It was a time of exploration and colonization in America. Many people were moving to the New World for several reasons such as adventure, escaping criminal charges or dept, seeking riches, and religious freedom. The stories of these travelers are told through their ship logs and journals. Their paintings give those who study them today an idea of what life might have been life with their colonial portraits.There were two groups who came to America. The puritans who came seeking religious freedom and chose to live North, and the men who came seeking land and riches, who lived in the South. The missions of these two groups were complete extremes, but they both came seeking a better life. The Puritans main goal was to be a model city, and live a holy life. Their literature was a plain style, which modeled after the bible. Men who spoke publicly during this time period would give sermons stressing the importance of attaining perfection. For example John Winthrop, founder of the Mass. Bay Colony, gave a speech to his people stating that he believed "they should be a city upon a hill...all eyes of the world should be upon them." The South on the other hand was much more laid back. Those who settled in it were mainly seeking money, land, or a safe haven from trouble back home. Therefore there literary styles dealt with everyday life. For example Captain John Smith of Jamestown wrote the "Pocahontas story" which described encounters with nearby Indians.The Colonial Period began on a downward spiral as the puritan colonies began to disband. Thus leading to the start of a new literary period, the Revolutionary Period.Many Revolutionary writers wrote about politics, gave persuasive speeches, and designed pamphlets to convey their message on life. Artists, like Trumbul, hit home with Americans by painting battle scenes. In works by men such as Patrick Henry, ?Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death? speech, Paine in ?Common Sense?, Jefferson in the ?Declaration of Independence?, and Benjamin Franklin in the ?Poor Richards Almanac? the feelings of these men are evident towards America and it?s progress as a country.As time passes American writers as well as artists chose...

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