7 May 2013

An essay on American Literature: Autobiographical Elements


Comparing and contrasingt the use of autobiographical elements in the writings by John Smith, William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson.

This essay sets out the terms which put forward the contrast points of the autobiographical aspects of the four authors. These authors were pioneers as they started literature tradition in America. The american literature found evidence that the colonial discourse as settlers had provided them a new vision of the world different from other authors of their times. Differences in their works are because of their life experiences.

Firstly, I point out a contrast showed by their relation to religion. In that sense, Smith is the only one whose role as adventurer and hero has secular concerns. He had been payed by the investors in London, so he had economical intentions and enhanced his work in the colonies with a mixture of fact and fiction. In spite of this, Bradford and the two women referred to a spiritual concern, related to their condition of Puritans, which made them to tell the true facts from a perspective of a Puritan reality. The sources they used are influenced by this condition: classical authors are present in Smith, and essentialy biblical sources are basic in Puritan authors' references. This passages or quotations were directly related with the background of their audiences. Also that made them to convey a didactic and plain style.

Secondly we distinguish differences in the gender, they were influenced by the social behaviour of the times. Women were considered to have little to say in men's society. Consider their role belonging to a Puritan organization of society were mere caregivers and beloved wives. Converserly, they went further and expressed their own opinions in their works. William and John1 wrote back to England as a mission to inform their investors and society about their fisrt impressions of the New World. Following these argument the roles influenced directly in their way of writing.

The perception we have about Purintan thought is that women should be discreet and passed a certain censure in their writings. Having said that we stress some common elements the two women had in their autobiography, material losses and psychological hardships. Their daily life in colonies are reflected in their discourses, living hand by hand with Natives made them their own opinion about what was happening, speaking about the death of children, the crude vision of war, the survival personality of human being. In most occasions troubled by religious thoughts which seemed not as close as they wished.
1Gibert, Teresa. American Literature to 1900. Editorial Universitaria Ramón Areces: Madrid, 2009. Pages 15 and 29.

By Pilar The Moon

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