The Scarlet Letter

Comment briefly on the attitude of Puritans to literature in the nineteenth century.


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Basically they were okay with anything as long as it was the Bible! Puritans viewed literature just as they did their daily activities: everything must give glory to God. Therefore, Puritan literature was based purely on worshipping or glorifying God. Novels were strictly forbidden leaving only the Bible and sermons for people to pass the time. Even poetry had very strict rules; unless, of course you were Anne Bradstreet who broke the Puritan poetry mold by incorporating vivid descriptions and talked about her husband instead of her God. Her poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband", breaks the rules of Puritan Plain Style, which was characterized by short words, direct statements, and references to ordinary, everyday objects. Any piece of writing which didn't concentrate on "useful" topics or give glory to God were seen as dangerous and were avoided like the woods at night!