Like everything else in life, Literature is not something that stays constant it changes as the times do. Classic Literature is always going to be around, and there are many works that we still read today that was written years ago that we still return to like old friends. This evolution of writing something that is still going on today as things are still changing, and writers are still coming up with new ways to draw in readers. In the Colonial and Puritan time, we see Literature that is religion and God focused. For the Puritan people God was the most important thing in their lives. In Mary Rowlandson’s work God and Bible verses are the focal points as she and others suffer through captivity by the Native Americans. Being new to the country and not knowing what they were going to be facing was hard enough but to now be captives and separated from their children, husbands and friends are even more frightening. While it would be easy for them to turn against God, they still try to find solace in him and his words. She even pulls out her Bible to read from it while they are moving around because it gives her comfort because it is all she has left in her current state.
Moving on to Frederick Douglass and his narrative religion is still included but, for Douglass, he is looking at religion as a way of controlling the slaves. Douglass began to question the institution of slavery when he was taught to read, and this led to him wanting to learn more.The white slave owners used religion and the fear of retribution from God. This led to Douglass questioning religion and God because of the bonds of slavery. Giving one race control over another was not a Christian thing to do but the whites still used religion as a means of keeping the slaves from rebelling. When Douglass finally escaped from slavery and began to speak out on the subject, he let everyone know who he was both in the North and the South he became the face of the anti-slavery movement for the runaway slaves. While his message was popular in the anti-slavery world, those who were in the South were wanting to get him back into slavery and under their control. Douglass was a pioneer in the changing world, and his story is one that still continues to be told today as one of the most famous slave narratives.
In the Romantic period we see yet another move, this time, we are expanding and moving west. New territory is in the west and being we are an enterprising people we are looking to start developing the western territory. It is strange in a way that we are shifting back into stories about the Native American people when that is where we started. With Coopers work, we have two different types of Native Americans unlike in Rowlandson’s work where all of the Native American people were described as savages. In Cooper, we see the stereotypical bad Native American, and we see one that is good. At the point we are at with Coopers work America has been around for some time and the Native Americans were being moved from their land, and now it is about to happen again with people moving west. Last of the Mohicans fed the white readers stereotypes of the Native American people, and many of these stereotypes are still around even today. Coopers work is one that even though things have changed the unfortunate thing is that some things remain the same.
Literature is something that is always changing with the times, and it is also a way for the people of the time to leave something concrete to let future readers know that they were here, and they had a voice. Teaching young people about the past using Literature is a way to get them excited about History in general. It also keeps the past alive for many future generations, and it helps us to see just how wrong we have sometimes been. Classic Literature, such as the works that we have covered here will make a difference in how we learn for many years to come and new works will find their way into those ranks someday.
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