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Comparing Romanticism in Plymouth Plantation, Birthmark, and Rappaccini's Daughter

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Puritanism and Romanticism differ in style, religious references, and plot content. Puritanism began to flourish with strict God-fearing Calvinists who had fled to America to escape religious persecution in Europe. With writers such as William Bradford and Edward Taylor, Puritan literature focuses on God's role in the lives of the people and adopts a simple religious style of writing. Romanticism was introduced to Americans in the nineteenth century, delivering a fresh literary and artistic style. This new literature pays more attention to the elements of tone, mood, and atmosphere, while also applying religion in the form of transcendentalism. These two types of literature are similar in the respect that they both encourage living…show more content…
Bradford compares his people's history to the history of the Israelites, quoting numerous Bible passages such as "They fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven" (Daniel 2:19). Bradford intended this document to be an inspiration to the younger generations to remind them of the hardships the original settlers endured, and how God had given them strength, playing an important role in their survival. He admitted that he wrote "in a plain style, with singular regard unto the simple truth in all things" (Fritsher 81). Bradford wrote not for dramatic affect, but rather to provide the reader with an accurate account of the troubles experienced by the pilgrims, and the role of God through their journey.

With Romanticism came a new style of beliefs known as Transcendentalism. This is similar to Puritan beliefs in that it focuses on living simply. Romanticism deals with issues concerning the conflict between the spirit and the body, nature as being good or evil, experience as mystical, the nature of reality, and the equality of men. Romanticism supported abolition and believed in the "manifest destiny" of the United States. This literature pays close attention to setting, nature, nonconformity, and the mood and tone of a piece. Romantics also made use of gothic elements in their literature, such as the supernatural, abnormal psychology, mysticism, and spiritualism. Romantic poets were fond of musical rhythmic verse, and they liked to break free of forms, making
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