Early American Literature

respond to one of the following questions:


1. Explain the political, social, or economic implications of Winthrops text.

2. Winthrop invites listeners to compare themselves to the Israelites journeying out of Egypt and into the promised land. What is the nature of his listeners bondage, and what will be the nature of their promised land, according to Winthrop?

3. We often think of America as a land of independence; however, Winthrops text emphasizes the important role of interdependence for the Puritans. Explain the nature of humans responsibility to one another in Winthrops model.

4. Explain how Winthrops model may have helped travelers to the New World as they faced particular hardships similar to those described in Bradfords Of Plimoth Plantation.


5. “The Day of Doom” was a documented bestseller of the day. What aspects of the poem helped it to earn its bestseller status?

6. Why does Wigglesworth stick so closely to the text of the Bible in his poem, in some cases offering paraphrases of Biblical sources?

7. How does the poem embody dichotomistic structures of the Puritan view of Old Testament vs. New Testament and the Law vs. the Gospel?

8. How does the poem link the private framework of personal salvation with the communal Puritan mission?

9. How does the poem reflect Wigglesworths conception of his audience? Based on the poem, what does the author seem to understand or believe about his audience?

New England Primer

10. Review the Puritan doctrines evident in the text. Explain how the union of a church catechism and a schoolroom text reflects the Puritan notion of the identity of spiritual and civil matters, of religion and everyday life.

11. Compare the Primers illustrated alphabet to modern ABCs with their bland descriptions of benign animals and flowers in place of the stern lessons of the New England Primer. What does such a comparison reveal about changing conceptions of childhood?

12. Discuss the various biblical and Puritan ideas evident in the text and the illustrations for the alphabet. How do they reflect different elements of Puritan theology?

13. The Childrens verses in the Primer serve as cultural expressions of a religion that emphasized duty, obedience, the brevity of life, and the certainty of death. Contrast the cultural expressions evident in verses, books, toys, television shows, and the like for modern children.

Please indicate the author and number of the question you’ve chosen in the title


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