Of Plymouth Plantation (William Bradford)

Of Plymouth Plantation (William Bradford)


Of Plymouth Plantation epitomizes the English Pilgrims’ Calvinistic spirit, which dominates the early American literature. Calvinism is often associated with ubiquitous biblical allusions and frequent affirmation of God’s presence in people’s daily life.

To escape the Catholic Church’s corruption and persecution, the English Pilgrims languished in the ferocious ocean for months and finally entered their promised land. Rebuffing many old and fusty practices, they emphasized that people should read the Bible on their own, without priests’ manipulation. The Bible became the sole guide of pilgrims’ lives.    Biblical allusions are fully visible in Of Plymouth Plantation.  The hostility of  native Indians to European newcomers VS. God’s mercy to Apostle and his shipwrecked company is one example.



Puritans hold the belief tenaciously that God is omnipresent and His signs and symbols are everywhere in our daily life. Everything is crafted and directed by God, and thus the foul-mouthed young mariner’s abrupt death is solely prompted by God’s will.  Their heroic voyage to the New World is, unquestionably, a God-sent mission. This belief not only boosts their confidence in that forlorn land, but conveniently justifies their aggression and brutality to the natives.

The disturbing Eurocentric attitude and Christian superiority lead to the continual denigration of the natives, who are mostly referred to either as merciless, savage, barbarous sub-humans or as profitable merchandises.



Of Plymouth Plantation adopts the third-person narration throughout the story. Sometimes, I grinned when William Bradford referred himself as “him” (talking like a distant outsider). For example, “William Bradford was chosen Governor in his stead”. Why this particular writing style?  He was writing the history of all the English Pilgrims, a collective memory, rather than his very personal life, and the third-person narration usually sounds more convincing to readers.


About Yuan

I am a student & teacher & designer living in Austin, Texas. Please feel free to leave me a message. I would like to know who has visited my blog!

Posted on June 24, 2011, in Reading Journals (Early American Literature) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. With Thanksgivings Day right around the corner this was an interesting read. Gotta love those Puritans! Thanks, Yuan

  2. thank you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: