Adventures In American Literature

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“In the genuine Puritan tradition, character and morality are seen as permanent values achievable only by personal spiritual conquest, life is constantly spiritualized, and the humblest event and acts are related to a divine contact” (Murdock, Kenneth). This statement refers to the belief of providence and examples of it are easily found in early America’s puritan writers; William Bradford and Anne Bradstreet. William Bradford started to grow into the man he ended up being when he began reading the bible at the age of twelve. Soon after he joined a group of Puritans for prayer and was forced to flee to Holland. After realizing that things in Holland were still uneasy, he and some Puritans decided to come to America. It is in his work Of Plymouth Plantation when he is describing his voyage to America is where one of the first signs of his deep Puritan beliefs resides. “Yet according to the usual manner, many were afflicted with seasickness. And I may not omit here a special work of God’s providence. There was a proud and very profane young man, one of the seamen, of a lusty, able body, which made him the more haughty; he would always be contemning the poor people in their sickness and cursing them daily with grievous execrations;. […]. But it pleased God before they came half seas over, to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he died in a desperate manner, and so was himself the first that was thrown overboard. While the death of someone may not be considered a “humble” event that Murdock was referring to, this quote still shows how William Bradford related everything back to some divine intervention and not that it was just some coincidence that this man died. Similarly to William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet was also a very devote Puritan who also believed in this idea of providence.

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