Loathsome Insects and the Glistening Webs: Reflections of God’s Character and Religious Authority in Natural Imagery in Early American Literature
Keywords:Early American Literature, Colonial American Literature, Religious ideologies and literature, Nature imagery in American Literature
This paper examines the shift in views toward God and religious authority in Colonial America via a corresponding change in the use of natural imagery in literature>. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, there was a departure from the Puritanical Angry God model in favor of the Mechanic God model. In literature, this change is mirrored in a shift from violent, animal imagery to poetic descriptions of the environment. In analyzing literary works of Colonial America from writers, this argument aims to demonstrate how an author’s ideology impacts their writing by citing the connections between specific spiritual ideologies of Colonial American writers and the ways the descriptors they use to illustrate the natural world.
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