Northern Virginia Community College Puritan Women Presentation

Description

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Overview

Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet was not only the first woman to publish poetry from the New World, she was the first published poet of either gender. Bradstreet was a young wife and mother on the frontier of the new world, alone in the wilderness of the literary world because she wrote in her modest home, surrounded by her eight children, while her husband was a leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Bradstreet’s poems are more amazing because she really did achieve her art all by herself after only a childhood home-based education in England before leaving to become one of the first colonists in 1630. Unlike most of Puritan writers, Bradstreet’s poetry continues to be popular today. She is foundational in the creation of a tradition of women’s literature in American Literary history as well as the foundational poet in all American Literature.  

Mary Rowlandson

Others Captive: Mary Rowlandson Art Painting for sale - paintingandframe.comRowlandson was also a young wife and mother on the edges of the wilderness, but in contrast to Bradstreet, she did not set out to be a writer. That all changed after suffering as a victim of a brutal war between the Puritans and the American Indians.  Her account of a brutal attack and kidnapping, involving months of captivity, became immensely popular reading. Therefore, Rowlandson as a writer, is influential for different reasons than Bradstreet. Rowlandson is literally in the “savage” wilderness, captive to Indians, but also learning to develop herself as a writer by capturing the vivid details of the experience. Unlike Bradstreet, Rowlandson is an average writer who survived a unique and amazing ordeal. Her writing gives us insight into the conflict of King Philip’s War. Her descriptions of American Indians and the judgments she makes of their society are difficult to understand in our modern culture that values diversity. Because her writing was read far and wide during her own time and continues to be read today, her narrative may establish the negative stereotypes of American Indians that have contributed to the destruction of their culture. Nevertheless, many readers find her narrative exciting and revealing, and enjoyable. 

Assigned Readings

Anne Bradstreet

Mary Rowlandson

Listen: Podcast on Anne Bradstreet

“Prologue” (1650) to the Tenth Muse (section 33)

“Upon the Burning of Our House” 35

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” 31

“The Author to Her Book” 37

“Letter to my Dear Children” 34

“Prologue” (1650) to the Tenth Muse (section 33)

“Upon the Burning of Our House” 35

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” 31

“The Author to Her Book” 37

“Letter to my Dear Children” 34

Captivity and Restoration of Mary Rowlandson(30 pages)

Instructions

Create your video presentation

After reading Bradstreet’s poems and Rowlandson’s narrative, formulate a video presentation that compares their achievements as early American authors. 

Prepare your comparison of the two writers by considering the following questions:

What themes does Bradstreet focus on in her poems? Talk about one or two of the big ideas you think Bradstreet develops.

What poem by Bradstreet did you understand well? Summarize the poem and explain why.

  • What themes does Rowlandson develop in her narrative?

Do you think she is harsh, demeaning, or unfair to the American Indians, or is her attitude understandable? Explain.

  • At first, Rowlandson is filled, understandably, with great anger, hatred, and fear of her Indian masters. Does Rowlandson change her views of Natives by the end of her story? If so, how?

Which of the two writers do you feel has the most lasting impact on a modern reader and why? 

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