There are numerous comparisons and contrasts between Native American literature and Puritan literature. Both cultures placed some value on work. Puritan literature, which mirrored their simple lives, was written in a straightforward manner, whereas Native American literature was adorned with vibrant expressions that depicted life in the wilderness. While the Native Americans led unhurried lives, the Puritans tried to exalt God in all their endeavors. These similarities and differences manifest in various ways, including their perspectives on work. Although both cultures considered work significant, it held divergent meanings for each of them.
To the Puritans, work involved physical labor such as farming and construction in the colony. Literature of both cultures portrayed their way of life. While Puritan literature was straightforward and focused on glorifying God rather than the writer, Native American literature employed more extravagant language. Similes and metaphors were avoided in Puritan literature, as they exalted the writer rather than God. In contrast, Native Americans freely used expressive language in their literature. They believed in living life to its fullest and this attitude was evident in their literary works and possessions. Native American literature depicted Southern life just as Puritan literature reflected Puritan life.
The Puritans endeavored to glorify God in every aspect of their lives, believing that the path to both heavenly salvation and glorification of God lay in hard labor. They strove to find a connection to God in their own work, and their neighbors also monitored their progress. On the other hand, Native Americans had a less God-centered perspective, preferring to enjoy life’s pleasures. The Puritan Plain Style of writing emphasized the significance of nouns and verbs, which were the primary constituents the Puritans concentrated on.
The lack of descriptive language in this writing style makes it somewhat difficult to read. An example of this is demonstrated in Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation.” The writing simply tells what happened without providing much additional detail. As a result, it does not evoke the same reaction as writing with more descriptive language would. The different styles of writing directly reflected the lifestyles of the writers. The Plain Style showcased the plain and hard-working way of life of the Puritans. This is evident in the fact that most Puritans’ writings were in the form of journals that directly described their work. On the other hand, Southerners wrote in the Ornate Style because their own lives were ornate in nature.
Despite their attempts to find enjoyment in life, the Puritans took pride in their accomplishments and adorned their homes with the same attention to detail as they did with their writing. This distinction reveals that the Puritans led a distinctly separate existence from the Southerners. The two main literary styles in early America were vastly dissimilar. The Plain Style conveyed narratives in a straightforward manner, focusing solely on the “who did what,” or the actions taking place. On the other hand, the Ornate Style delved deeper into storytelling, portraying the action with flamboyant language. Both styles were reflective of the lives of these writers. Consequently, the writing styles of early Americans diverged significantly, creating a sort of “cultural chasm” between them.