Colonial American literature has been importantly influenced
by British writers. John Smith, William Bradford and Anne Bradstreet are an example
of this contribution. Smith and Bradford highlighted in the narrative genre with
their letters, journals and memories of their trip to the New World; and Anne
Bradstreet did it through poetry. She was the only one who received a high
education, learning many languages. Smith and Bradford never went to university,
but it wasn’t a hardship as they became a reference in their time.
Captain Smith and Bradford had a different personality and
intention. Smith was an explorer, a man of action regarding to his past as a
soldier, so his intention was purely political. For that reason, his first impression
of America was violent as the ‘savages’ made him a slave; On the other hand,
Bradford was a separatist puritan man who settled to start a new life in community
peacefully. The first meeting with the natives was also violent, but his
benevolent nature made that the Pilgrims and the Indians ended up in a good relationship.
Smith and the separatist described their trip in an objective
way. The Captain’s letters have a first and third singular point of view to
give an objective vision, but this fact together with the ornate style remove
reliability to his writings. It shows his ego and mixes reality with fiction.
We see it in an extract of his book when he explains how the natives captured
him: “they followed him with 300 bow-men” (Teresa Gibert, American literature to 1900, 17). On the other side, Bradford’s
annals are in the third person plural voice in a plain descriptive style. It
let us see his community and global personality.
The religious intent of Bradford in America was also shared by
Bradstreet, but in a different way. The Pilgrims exiled to create their own
religion apart from the Anglican Church. Otherwise, Bradstreet’s non-separatist
puritan clanship was persecuted because they wanted a strict Church reform.
Thereby, they were brave to leave their countries for their religion and start in
the New World.
The fact that Bradstreet and Bradford were believers is
denoted in the abundance of Christian vocabulary and Biblical references. He
had a denotative style; She, instead, used poetic and connotative language full
of metaphors (“The Author to Her Book”
is itself a metaphor of a fatherless and poor child) through which we see her
sensitiveness together with an ironic style. This is showed in her poem “On my dear Grandchild Simon Bradstreet”:
“Let’s say He’s merciful as well as just” (Teresa Gibert, American literature to 1900, 56). She lived with this tension
between her Christian beliefs lived in a strict way and her inner self.
the intention of Bradstreet and Bradford was purely religious and benevolent as
they had good relationship with the natives. In contrary, Smith preferred
fighting and not mediating. Although their characters, Anne Bradstreet is
differentiated because her personality is hidden her poems.