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Literature Reflects its Time-Based Beliefs

             Through the history of our country, America, we can see what has shaped our country through our literature. Our literature has changed as the times and ideas have been reshaped. If we divide our history into time periods then we clearly see the distinct beliefs and how the literature reflects them. Through the history of America we have seen different attitudes toward each other, towards nature, and towards life in general. From the time when American Tradition was born, to the Revolutionary War, and finally to the Civil War each section of history through its literature has reflected its individual system of belief.
             During the time of the Puritans some of their beliefs were that the bible is the sole source of God's law, all humans are evil, and that people were predestined to go to either hell or heaven. The famous works of that time period clearly illustrate this system of belief. In one such work, the "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God-, by Jonathan Edwards we see that the Puritans have utter respect and fear of god. Edwards preached, "We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so tis easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by; thus easy is it for God when he pleases to cast his enemies down to Hell [ ] (Edward, 42)- The Puritans believed that God had the ultimate power by which he could send sinners to hell. In the same preaching by Edwards we are able to see all the tenets that the Puritans believed in. He sermonized, "[ ] nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of you own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment [ ] (Edwards, 43-44) The statement that one can do nothing to stop the wrath of god reflect the idea of predestination. Furthermore he said in this sermon, "O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: tis a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit [ ] (Edwards, 43).

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