American Literature

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Pages: 2 (700 words) Published: October 4, 2013
Compare and Contrast Essay
American literature traces back to the time of the Native Americans and Puritans, and over time developed many literary movements influenced by Transcendentalists and Realists. The beliefs of the Native Americans and Puritans as well as the philosophy of the Transcendentalists and Realists contrast with one another. These four major groups of American writers all differ in the sense that all of them look to a different power head or ideology for truth. For example, Native Americans look outside themselves to nature; while Puritans look to God, and Transcendentalists look within themselves; whereas realists question whether there is truth.

The Native Americans have enriched our history of American literature with their stories and songs that depict their nature oriented beliefs. The Native Americans were polytheistic, meaning they believed in multiple gods. The gods they worshiped were all elements of nature such as the sun, the sky, and the earth. The Indians had a strong spiritual connection with nature which is shown quintessentially in a Native American piece, Song of the Sky Loom, when the poem reads, “Oh Mother Earth, oh Father Sky, your children are we” (Tewa 34). The Indians believed without qualms that the truth is found in nature, which differed greatly with another group of American writers that became very popular in this time.

The Puritans had a very strict religious ideology, and only looked to one place for truth; God. Unlike the Native Americans, the Puritans were monotheistic, in other words they only believed in one god. The structure of their life and their actions all revolved around the word of the bible. The Puritans believe that God is the creator of everything and therefor legislated by his law making Puritans very strict, moralistic, and conservative. Puritans looked to God for truth and faith which is expressed when a Puritan poet writes, “And when I could no longer look, I blest His name that gave and...
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