Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


With Thanksgiving upon us and thoughts of turkey, yams, and cranberries it’s pretty difficult to think of much else. Although I’m sure more than a few of you are already looking towards Black Friday. But before the holiday season progresses I thought I’d blog about my second installment of Monday’s piece about Thanksgiving-esk literature.

After my plug for Native American writing, I’d like to highlight all the New England, Colonial, and Puritan literature that makes up the origins of American consciousness. Now, you may be wondering, who cares about the Puritans? And I used to think the same way until I had to take a course on the subject in graduate school.

Turns out that texts such as William Bradford’s history of the Pilgrim’s, John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” speech, and all the sermons of Jonathan Edwards to the poems of Anne Bradstreet really do have something to offer to the avid reader. Many of the things we consider American, from our work ethic to attitudes to morals stem from these early colonial writings. Other uniquely American genres, such as Captivity Narratives (like those of Mary Rowlandson) described settlers' experiences when taken prisoner by Indians. All in all, I suggest giving one of these short texts a try over your four day break, and who knows…you might just like it. Happy Thanksgiving!