Those authors, although from
different periods of time and facing different social and personal situations
share some similarities. Amongst them, we can see that the three of them are born in England, travel to the new world s1 and are considered writers of the Early American Literature/period.
However, there are some differences amongst them that affect their writings
(gender, religion, social environment, etc.).
While Smith travelled
as an explorer, Bradford travelled as a settler escaping from religious persecution, as well as Bradstreet.
For Bradstreet, being a woman in her period was hard and more being a woman
writer. She had to concern about her
private and public life and about the role that was imposed to women at that time. The use of puns in
her poetic and ornamented style (influenced by some metaphysical poets) was far
from that used by Puritans, and helped her to represent her humility and allude
to God with irony, not in the strict meaning of the term, but showed her dubiouss2 about God decisions after the abandon from God’s part and her suffering.
* …by th’ Almighty’s hand; yet is He
good… Him let’s be mute, such was His will, but why, let’s not dispute.
As for Smith and
Bradford, both tried to relate their experiences in a convincing way. The former,
as an explorer of the Virginia Company and with commercial expectations,
usually referred to himself as a bold soldier, almost always using the third
singular person and an ornate style. This technique showed distance from the
character and make the history more believable. Smith, always enhanced his
deeds, almost following the chivalric (code) novel, as a bold soldier who does
not fear anything, who will fight until death and will do everything for his
people. He also showed the English superior, disparaging the Natives (sometimes
quoting Greek and Latin authors in his texts) and justifying the actions and
behaviour of the English against the Natives, encouraging the colonisation of
the new land. ** As if near led to hell,
amongst the devils to dwell.
The latter, travelled
to America to escape religious persecution. Some of the contemporaries and
later readers called his group; Pilgrims or Puritans who were looking for the
promised land, in relation to the Hebrews. Bradford, showed more concerned not
about his individual representation towards the English, but to show the
situation of the Colonisers. He wrote in third plural person and gave
pre-eminence to the well-being and work of the whole community instead of the
individual self. He always emphasised God providence and instead of quoting
classical authors as Smith did, he referred to the bible. His writings, in a
plain style, were more moral and instructive, trying to impress in the readers the
goodness and piety of God and the fruits of working together as a community.
***…There was a proud
and very profane man…he would always be condemning the poor…But it pleased God …to
smite this young man with a grievous disease…