The book that I chose to write about is Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford. I chose to write about this book because I believe that what William Bradford did for the Pilgrims was very remarkable. Bradford was the governor of Plymouth for over thirty years after the previous governor, John Carver, had died. He was a very powerful leader in the Plymouth Plantation and all the Pilgrims looked at him not only as a leader, but also as a part of their family. Bradford was by the Pilgrims side in everything that they did and was always an influential, supportive leader.
He treated the Pilgrims with reverence as if they were his children. This book is Bradford’s journal describing the Pilgrims voyages and their story since the year 1608. Bradford wrote this journal between the years of 1630, ten years after the Pilgrims arrival in 1620, continuing the writing of it from time to time up to the year 1650. I enjoyed this book because it educated me about the Pilgrims. I knew that they started Thanksgiving, but I never knew what they had to go through to make such an significant mark in history for our generation.
Of Plymouth Plantation was a great read and I would suggest that anyone who wants to learn more about the story of the Pilgrims should read it. The book starts off with an introduction by Harold Paget. In this introduction, Paget simply gives readers an idea of what to expect when reading the book. In this introduction, he mentions everything in the book, from the year the first Governor John Carver died just a few months after the Pilgrims arrival in the Americas, to the year Bradford died in 1657. This book documents the Pilgrims’ adventures.
Of Plymouth Plantation talks about the Pilgrims first stop in Holland, their journey on the Mayflower, and the harsh, brutal first winter in the New World. This book also documents the help given to the Pilgrims by the welcoming Native Americans that saved their lives. The Native Americans helped defend the new colonists. They showed them how to grow their own crops, trade maps and fur, how to use plants for medicine, and basically how to survive the roughest winter that the Pilgrims ever experienced. If it was not for the Native
Americans, the Pilgrims wouldn’t have been so knowledgeable. Of Plymouth Plantation consists of thirty six chapters, separated into two books. Bradford begins the book by stating the purpose of the emigration of the Separatists. The Separatists had left England to pursue and try to find religious freedom. They did this because they didn’t want to follow the rules of the Church of England led by King Henry VIII. The Separatists wanted to break away from the church and start their own church. They felt as if they could practice their religion more freely in the Americas. As is well known, ever since the breaking out of the light of the gospel in England, Satan has maintained various wars against the Saints- sometimes by bloody death and cruel torment, at other times by imprisonment and banishment. ” Bradford, W (1920). Of Plymouth Plantation. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company. What Bradford means by this is that ever since the Separatists and Puritans split from the Church of England, they were rejected and persecuted for their beliefs and faith. These persecutions include: as stated before, arrest, torture, death, and imprisonment.
To flee from this rejection, the Puritans attempted to escape to Holland. Despite their beliefs, they couldn’t flee to Holland as easily as they thought. It was already hard to leave their family and friends and go to a country unknown to them where they must learn a new language, but the ports were shut against them, meaning that they had to seek secret means of conveyance. It was very complicated for the Separatists and Puritans to come into Holland. Bradford also talks about the Pilgrims trip on the Mayflower as they voyaged to the New World.
On September 6th, 1620, the Mayflower set sail with only about one hundred and two passengers and only about thirty crew members. This expedition came with many hardships. To begin with, The Pilgrims worried whether the ship would hold up during the voyage from Holland. The Mayflower was not a sturdy ship. It was creaky and had a leak. This is because the Pilgrims were not able to buy a very expensive ship since they didn’t have much money. Many times, the Pilgrims thought about turning around. They were discouraged that their plan would not succeed because of the previous trip to Holland.
All proved to be worth it, though, because a carpenter fixed the main beam with a large screw, and the ship’s crew caulked the leaks. Feeling more confident about the trip, the Pilgrims’ continued on with their journey. On the way to the New World, the waters were very rough and the skies were stormy. One Pilgrim had even fallen overboard because the seas were so ruthless. After everyone thought all the troubles were over with, Bradford’s wife committed suicide right as the boat reached the New World. Bradford was heartbroken and in dismay.
The mayflower finally sighted shore, which was Cape Cod, on November 11th, 1620. When the Pilgrims reached the New World, they realized they were not alone. The Pilgrims noticed that Native Indians also lived in Cape Cod. At first, the Pilgrims and the Indians didn’t start off on the right foot. The Indians often watched the colonists, and even stole their tools. The two groups were not familiar with each other and not friendly. By the time March came around, Samoset started to befriend the colonists. Samoset and the Pilgrims got along great; he even gave them their tools back.
As time progressed, Samoset introduced the Pilgrims to a fellow Indian named Squanto. Since Squanto spoke English, the two groups just clicked automatically. Squanto taught the colonists how to fish, hunt, and farm. Since the two groups knew that they would be together for quite some time, they decided to make a peace treaty. The Indians and the Pilgrims agreed to hold their people accountable for their actions to one another and to live in peace without any fighting. This agreement went well for quite some time. The two groups thought of a way to give thanks together.
The First Thanksgiving feast was a dinner with a large amount of food between the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrating their successful harvest after the summer. Now was the time when the worst winter the Pilgrims ever experienced. By the third month, over half of the Pilgrims had died from hunger, or illnesses due to the weather. On some occasions, two or three colonists would die per day. Only fifty were left alive, and all except five or six people were very ill. The few healthy Puritans that were left took care of the sick without a complaint, even though it was very complex and dirty work.
Sailors made the ill colonists stay off the boat. At first, the sailors were greedy, and refused to share any of their beer with the sick colonists. They would only share their water. As time went on, the sailors also got sick. One out of every two sailors was said to have died. The captain was the only one who would share beer with the sick Pilgrims. Despite the sailors making fun of the Pilgrims, the Pilgrims still lend a hand to aid them when they were in need of help. The book closes with a chapter titled “The names of those who came ver first in the Mayflower, in the year 1620 and were, by the blessing of God, the first beginners and founders of the Settlements and Colonies of New England. ” In this chapter, Bradford gives his condolences to those who died on the Mayflower along with their families. This list includes one hundred or so people, half of who died from sickness. Bradford closes the book by saying “Let the Lord have praise, Who is the High Preserver of men. ” Bradford, W (1920). Of Plymouth Plantation. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company.
Bradford’s point of view, aim and bias were expressed through Of Plymouth Plantation to inform his audience; the pilgrims of the upcoming generation, on how he viewed the New World. The book was told mostly in third person point of view. Bradford told his story in third person point of view to prove his point, and to share facts with his readers. While mostly telling his story in third person he also communicated with the readers by sporadically switching to first person point of view. This allowed the author to vary between facts and his interpretations of the New World.
In the story, most of Bradford’s details are chronological, historical facts. The author uses examples such as death rate, surroundings and the Pilgrims way of life to express his views of the New World to his audience. Bradford used bias in his writing to not only persuade, but to inform. In my opinion, I think that Bradford does a great job defending his point of view. He used clear examples, strong points to convince his audience with, and historical facts. Also, considering the book is mostly in third person point of view, Bradford could easily explain his own experiences to back up his points in the book.
Altogether, this book was very well written and put together with clear examples and facts to help the audience understand his point of view. In conclusion, the book I chose to read, Of Plymouth Plantation, was an outstanding book. William Bradford proved to be a very talented writer. The book was easy to understand while still proving to be interesting. This book helped me learn a lot about the Pilgrims and their journey to the New World. In my opinion, Of Plymouth Plantation was exciting and enjoyable to read. As I said before, I would very much recommend this book to those who want to learn more about the Pilgrims and their story.