February 1, 2018
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Data Visualization for Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative.
In this paragraph, we can see how Mary Rowlandson was aware of her own innate depravity and how God’s grace and absolute sovereignty influence her life. Rowlandson recognizes her sins and where she has failed god when she says, “I then remembered how careless I had been of God’s holy time; how many Sabbaths I had lost and misspent, and how evilly I had walked in God’s sight.” She then goes on to explain how God’s grace saved her, even though she views herself as unworthy of his forgiveness. “Yet the Lord still showed mercy to me, and upheld me; and as He wounded me with one hand, so he healed me with another.” This also displays God’s absolute sovereignty in the lives of the Puritans. He has the power to change their lives entirely, and he “wounded” Rowlandson and changed her life through her experience with the Indians.
While this reading was very powerful and filled with much heartbreaking imagery, this section in particular stuck out to me. I thought that this section was really reflective of both God’s grace and God’s absolute sovereignty. Author Mary Rowlandson’s oldest sister here sees her mother and children slaughtered and asks the Lord to kill her as well. When she gets her wish and she too is killed, I was conflicted as to whether that was a representation of God’s grace or God’s absolute sovereighnty over man.
On one hand, I thought this represented God’s grace. Rowlandson’s eldest sister has just seen horrific things–her family being slaughtered while she is helpless–and she too wants nothing more than to join them. Her wish is granted when she dies and, assuming that she and her family is among the Select, she gets to reunite with her family in the afterlife of Heaven. Here, God has granted her her wish and reunited her with her family, represented his Grace. However, I was conflicted because it seemed a little morbid for God’s grace to be killing one of his own followers.
So, on the other hand, I thought of it as representing God’s absolute sovereighnty. He owes nothing to his followers; all they can do is hope to earn a seat next to him in the afterlife. In this passage, Rowlandson says that her sister was not the most devout follower of God. She states that, “In her younger years, she lay under much trouble upon spiritual accounts, till it pleased GOd to make that precious scripture take hold of her heart” (NAAL 310). In this way, I think that God owes nothing to even His most faithful of followers, and also to His troubled follower. Therefore her death was not a representation of His grace, but rather just an untimely death, as God owes her nothing. All she can hope is that her following of God allows her to be “reaping the fruit of good labors, being faithful to the service of God in her place” (NAAL 310).
I would agree with you that this is a very powerful reading. The piece as a whole is very sad and full of misery but just like you, this part stuck out to me. I like that you narrowed the key concepts reflected here, to God’s Grace and God’s Absolute Sovereignty over man. I agree with your analysis and can see where you would question this. Before I read your post I only really saw the killing of Rowlandson’s sister as more of God’s sovereignty. I really like the way you worded it, that God “owes nothing to his followers”. This really helps with the comprehension of the term. After reading your post, I can see how you related her death to God’s Grace. She did wish to die, understandably, after what she saw, and it is as if God granted her her wish. I just like you, struggled with the idea of grace involving the killing of a faithful follower. Thanks for the insight!
In this passage, I see a lot of militaristic imagery as well as absolute sovereignty. Rowlandson says, “‘Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he has made in the earth”, as well as, “yet the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death”. This gives the impression that it was God who caused all of the destruction and desolation because he is the one with the absolute power. Yet, he is also the one who saved the few. Militaristic imagery is also apparent in this paragraph, “There were twelve killed, some shot, some stabbed with their spears, some knocked down with their hatchets… Christians lying in their blood”. Here Rowlandson is describing how the Native Americans came and killed a lot of the Christians through violence.
I agree, there is a lot of references to absolute sovereignty. There is a lot of violence in the paragraph as well as the portrayal of the Indians as savages ruthless people. There is also a lot of mention of religion in the passage regarding those being killed or taken captive but there is no tie of an religion or spiritual connection to the Indians which is also a lack of representation. I did find the passage a bit contradictory because it does seem as if she’s saying because of God there were was massacre and 12 died instantly but then it does feel as if she is saying thank God for the rest of us who were captured and not killed. Yet, being captives wasn’t anything to be too happy about.
I agree that there this a lot of militaristic imagery. She speaks a lot about death and captivity. She states, “There was one who was chopped into the head with a hatchet, and stripped naked, and yet was crawling up and down.” Here she is talking about how the Native Americans killed lots of Christians. This passage has quite a lot of terrible things that are talked about.
There are many interesting things to appreciate with Mary Rowlandson’s narrative. One of these things is that, I think, with the passage of time we are able to more readily read the work as objectively as is possible. That is to say, that the events described are of that of two different cultures and the atrocities that were committed against each side. This being said, I have to say that I was struck by the staggering level of hypocrisy found within the text.
Paragraph 53 is as good a place as any to highlight for this. Here the author chastises the Native Americans for their callous behavior, when she herself has demonstrated this same attitude again and again. I refer not only to her reaction to the young baby of her mistress’ that died, but also later on toward the English child whose food she took and ate for herself when it was apparent the child was struggling with the meat. This is only one example of many that can be found throughout the text, and makes me curious at the reception of the work in its time. It does not surprise me that it was popular or that those of European lineage were apt to side with her, but I wonder if there were any in the author’s time that chided her blatant hypocrisy.
This entire reading was so moving and so vivid, and this passage in particular stood out to me because of the reference to scripture. Scripture is used throughout the entirety, and I am quite certain she did not have a copy of the Bible with you, so just knowing that she had most likely memorized the Bible and this verse for me was very moving. She used this to call upon God in her time of need, at a time when she could easily crumble she looked to God for balance and strength. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee” (Isaiah 43.2)
We couldn’t possibly imagine the homesick feelings of hopelessness, loss, and loss of dignity she felt being laughed at and abused in such a way. Even in her darkest hours she looked to God and her faith, and maintained her dignity within and patience to hear the good news that she is leaving to Wachusett. Sadly, at the end of the passage, we see once again she is not among Christians as she had hoped. Her spirit seems to be wrought with peril and emotional ups and downs throughout this perilous journey, but her strong faith in God helps her find balance and gives her encouragement when she is feeling down. “but in my distress the Lord gave me experience of the truth, and goodness of that promise.”
Here is a glimpse of Rowlandson’s unwavering spirituality. In the wake of such tragedy, she still finds herself in God’s presence, “carrying [her] along, and bearing up [her] spirit” (312), experiencing God’s grace through her ability to carry on in her travels. Even after falling from a horse and being humiliated in front of the natives, she attributes His grace to the renewal of her strength, and hints at his absolute sovereignty as the driving force that kept her going so that she “might see more of His power” (312). In her own words and experiences, Rowlandson was only able to survive her ordeal because of God’s will.
I agree, in paragraph four she said “I had often before this said that if the Indians should come, I should choose rather to be killed by them than taken alive” but when they did come she chose to be taken alive. I believe like you said that she still found herself in God’s presence because he was helping her survive by “carrying [her] along, and bearing up [her] spirit.” (312). Even when she fell off and everyone laughed, she felt as if the lord “renewed her strength, and carried her along” (312). In this passage especially you get a really good sense of Rowlandson’s spirituality. I also agree with you on the part that she is experiencing God’s grace throughout the travels with the Indians, he is making her stronger and making her believe that she can keep going. Like you said Rowlandson really did believe that she was only able to survive because it was God’s will.
This paragraph shows some of the challenges that Rowlandson had to go through to increase her faith in God. One of the most sorrowful happenings she had to go through was the loss of one of her children. Where she could have chosen to commit suicide, she decided to follow the words of the Bible and continue living. When the other horrible things that happened to her, God answered a prayer of her being able to see her remaining children. God see ing that her faith had been strengthened throughout the ordeal granted her the prayer. This paragraph leads up to her talking about how her faith in God kept her going. “But the Lord helped me still to go on reading till I came to Chap. 30, the seven first verses, where I found, there was mercy promised again, if we would return to Him by repentance.” This line can sum up the whole paragraph because God helped her keep moving with all the negativity around her, but through the trail gave her mercy by showing her children. To reach God a person must go through a trail to prove that is where they belong.
This passage interests me because it reminds me of Taylor’s poem, Upon a Wasp Chilled with Cold. In that piece we see the wasp near frozen, what we could see as a reference to hell on earth. The wasp is delivered to heaven by the providence of God. Here, we see this woman, who was “so near her time”, and it is God’s providence that the woman is “knocked on the head”, and delivered to heaven. God saved her from the Natives, or hell on earth, as Rowlandson refers to many times.
[that I may say as David, “I had fainted, unless I had believed, etc” (Psalm 27.13)]
I found it very interesting how Rowlandson referenced passages of scripture and used them as her own words, as seen here when she, “says as David”. This reference here to Psalms (as well as the many other references to the Old Testament for her expressions) appears to be a strong demonstration of the typological belief structure, the recurrence of events from the Old Testament, of the Puritan faith. Her use of scripture also supports the concept of providence and that God guides the human destiny both in the past and present.
This paragraph is the perfect example of the puritan idea of “providence” She states that she was weak and in her time of weakness of body she looked to the scriptures and when she felt that she was ready to faint, the scriptures “fed” her. Providence is the idea that the Lord will give one strength, so the fact that she read the scriptures as she was ready to faint allowed her to continue is the pure idea of puritan providence.
What a moving story by Mrs. Rowlandson’s faith and devotion to God in the midst of her unfortunate situation. This particular passage struck me because of her boy’s resilience. After Mrs. Rowlandson’s little girl died, how comforting she must have felt to see Joseph, her young boy alive again. She states that while traveling upon the river her company stopped and while resting her son Joseph appeared unexpectedly and talked about each other’s situation. “I asked him whether he would read. He told me he earnestly desired it, I gave him my Bible, and he lighted upon that comfortable Scripture “I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord; the Lord hath chastened me sore, yet he had not given me over death” (Psalm 118.17-18). I don’t know how old was Joseph at this time, but I think his willingness to read the Bible in the midst of so much pain, danger, and uncertainty shows his dependency on God’s authority and Providence. In this particular passage, he seemed to be happy and relieved that even though he was going through God’s chastening, God would spare his life.
[But I knew that He laid upon me less than I deserved.]
This perfectly illustrates the idea of innate depravity that we’ve seen from our previous readings. Rowlandson repeatedly comes back to the idea that the entirety of this ordeal has been brought on because she must bend to God’s will and that it is not for her to question the severity of the abuse she is subject to or the small kindnesses that she also receives throughout her captivity. Her utter and complete devotion to her faith is evident as time progresses and she is witness to and a victim of more brutality, both physical and emotional.
Mary Rowlandson is enduring terrible treatment and literally watching her child die in her arms and yet she continues to thank God because she’s still alive. This is an example of true piety within an individual; Rowlandson has such faith in God that instead of becoming angry or depressed, she continues to worship God. She writes, “Oh, may I see the wonderful power of God, that my spirit did not utterly sink under my affliction: still the Lord upheld me with His gracious and merciful spirit, and we were both alive to see the light of the next morning” clearly depicting her complete faith in the Providence of God; that God will see her through this trial and that he wishes she endure it.
I think this paragraph is interesting because it brings out some interesting things happening in this text. For one, the son’s reaction to his mother telling him his father was well was strange. The sentence, “He told me he was as much grieved for his father as for himself” confuses both myself and Mary Rowlandson. She seems perplexed by this and I’m not entirely sure what the son means by these things. Another thing that interests me is the last three lines of this section. The son tells Mary that the Indians are getting gunpowder from the French. This is also interesting because some of the master’s men were killed by the Indians. I am interested in knowing if this story has a bit more behind the curtain because as it stands I am unsure what to trust about this exchange between the Native Americans and the French people selling these things to them.
I found this paragraph in Rowlandson’s account to be especially poignant and moving, as she describes the terrible ordeals that she went through during her time of as a slave of the Natives. What struck me most was the incredible amount of faith and trust she displays in the face of adversity. After losing most of her family, watching many of them die horrible deaths when she was captured, and being forced to helplessly witness her six-year-old daughter pass away, Rowlandson’s faith somehow manages to remain intact. She invokes God’s sovereignty as a comfort to her amidst her trials, and uses scriptural references to the previous persecution of God’s people as a parallel to her own situation, bringing her hope that God will continue to take care of her. Regardless of the criticisms that we have made of the Puritans and their doctrine as well as various personal issues we may have with those Puritanical belief systems and the injustices therein, I believe that this woman’s strength and courage in the face of such adversity is not only exemplary, but also breathtaking and worthy of admiration.
As Mary Rowlandson does throughout this piece, here she speaks to the small fortunes she experiences as a prisoner. She comes to realize that this interaction with the Native American may have some risks, as he has killed two Englishmen and kept their clothes, despite him being giving to her. We do not learn what his intentions are in this passage, but he seems to be a glimpse of reprieve Rowlandson, which to this point, she has been taking with little question. The passage may sum up the entirety of the piece for me, for she encounters danger, but has such resolve that she finds the finds pleasure in things that would have repulsed her prior. Here, though, she gets to eat pork with salt, which seems a delicacy to her. With the last sentence of the passage, she points to how her journey as a prisoner affected her, where one does not appreciate the small things when they have everything. That piece of pork may not have been so savory if she had not needed it in her long term starvation.
I totally agree with your comment here, she seems to really buy the Puritan’s belief and way of living. I think this idea of her being ‘weak’ without the scripture can also lead to the meaning that she physically can’t live without it. God id what gives her life and meaning to keep living. I also can see this passage as a way of informing her audience that, no matter what you’re going through there is a passage in the Bible that can help. She literally just opens the book and finds a passage that reflects perfectly on what she needed. It can be inferred that it will happen to others that follow Him as well.
This is my favorite passage. Mary has come the realization that she never really had many things to worry about. She was happy and didn’t put much effort into much of anything. Her captivity changed that. She soon realizes that that as God sees fit to put her thought these things in life she seem to know that God’s intentions are because h would never put her thought something she cant handle. She realizes her dependence on the will of God she also says “it is good for me that i have been afflicted” which make me think that she is grateful for the suffering she has been going through be cause it opened her eyes to the “vanities” of the life she was living. She says she has learned to look beyond the smaller troubles meaning she sees that there are bigger problems around her and her afflictions have made her see that.
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February 10, 2018 at 1:42 pm
See in context
February 6, 2018 at 10:03 am
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April 30, 2018 at 10:35 pm
In Charles Brockden Brown’s article, “The Difference between History and Romance” he writes about the novel, Wieland, and the relationship that the novel has between history and romance. He explains how history and romance are intertwined and how imperfections of man are part of our future, present, and past. In this paragraph, Clara is overtaken by her senses of this man, “I count among the most extraordinary incidents of my life”. Clara is an irrational character taken over by romantic ideas. Her history and her future are based on her emotional decisions. There is no separation between the two. Brockden Brown writes, “when busy in assigning motives to actions, are not historians but romancers.” Which relates directly to what is happening to Clara in this passage. When talking about history, it is the “noting and recording of the actions of men” which I think is very important because mankind is often if not always driven by passion and emotion. This also plays well with the strong theme of passion and emotion that is current throughout Wieland and all the characters.
Barnard, Philip, and Stephen Shapiro, editors. “The Difference Between History and Romance.” Wieland or the Transformation, with Related Texts, by Charles Brockden Brown, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2009, pp. 195–198.
April 27, 2018 at 11:10 pm
This passage is very focused on individualism, Franklin seems to be looking at the better things in his life instead of focusing on the negative. He doesn’t dwell on the idea that he wish he lived life without committing fault instead he touches on it and shifts into how he’s basically glad with how he’s lived life. In “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” Steven Forde presents the idea that Franklin Autobiography should be used as a model of developing good character and morals. Franklin states, “conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection”, but soon realizes that he had, “undertaken a task of more difficulty than he had imagined.” Forde believes, “each of the loopholes… is deliberate”. The loopholes represent another idea, that being that when striving for greater morality the individual must also take all aspects of life in consideration and be reasonable. Forbes introduces another idea, “If Franklin had viewed virtue more strictly, he might have been forced to give up on it”.
Forde, Steven. “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and the Education of America.” The American Political Science Review, vol. 86, no. 2, 1992, pp. 357–368. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1964225.
April 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm
In her article “What’s Wrong With Charlotte Temple” Marion Rust addresses Charlotte’s passions as well as her inability to make decisions and relates it to her overall fall from her position in society. Rust uses this paragraph as an example of Charlotte’s indecisiveness. Here it is exemplified that Charlotte can’t even make a simple decision on her own. She has to reach out to her mentor in order to decide what to even do with something as simple as a written letter. Rust catapults off this point by claiming that Charlotte’s future will continue to be unguided and spiral downward farther than she already has. Rust bases this claim on the idea that Charlotte will not be able to support herself because she is always looking to some one outside herself to guide her through obstacles.
Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491497.
April 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm
Andrew Scheiber’s article “The Arm Lifted against Me”: Love, Terror and the Construction of Gender in “Wieland” explores Clara’s gendered role in Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland. Scheiber points to patterns of Clara’s marginalization and enclosure throughout the story, specifically in relation to her role in the context of the familial structure of the story’s plot. Scheiber explains that, “though the Age of Reason invites her to identify herself with the life of the mind, Clara is barred by her womanhood from fully achieving such an identification, since the gender ideology of the times defines the intellect as secondary rather than primary, to the essence of “feminine” nature” (Schieber 178) which is an interesting perspective considering the emphasis on reason and intellect throughout the story, and the fact that Clara is the primary protagonist of the story. Schieber claims that when Clara questions the audience, “was I not likewise transformed from rational and human into a creature of nameless and fearful attributes” (Brown 137) that she is exposing her “self-condemnation” that is born out of the gendered system that relates “rational” and “human” on the masculine side of gender axis, and the negation of those qualities to the feminine side of the axis.
Brown, Charles Brockden, Philip Barnard, and Stephen Shapiro. Wieland ; or the Transformation. An American Tale with Related Texts. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2009. Print.
Scheiber, Andrew J. “‘The Arm Lifted against Me’: Love, Terror, and the Construction of Gender in ‘Wieland.’” Early American Literature, vol. 26, no. 2, 1991, pp. 173–194.
April 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm
In his article, entitled ‘Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture’, scholar Robert A. Ferguson examines the character of Rip Van Winkle in depth and identifies some of the key flaws that keep this iconic figure of early American Folklore in conversation to this day. One of the flaws identified in Ferguson’s article is the issue of drink, which is brought up in the selected paragraph. Ferguson argues that Rip’s problems with being a “naturally thirsty soul” can be attributed to and explain his lack of success in life: “Habitual drinking keeps him from the steady application that every good farm requires” (533). This explanation of Rip’s tendency to ‘bum around’ aligns to the events of the story, as well as illuminating a reason why he continues to be a influential character in American literature. According to Ferguson, “We value Rip most of all because we find something of our own foibles in him, not because we worry about drink or because we fear an encounter with Heinrich Hudson when we enter the Kaatskill Mountains. Rip’s faults…are our own bad habits carried to extremes. Irving keeps to the lighter side of these extremes” (533-534). Through the relatable aspects and complexities of Rip’s character, readers throughout the years are enabled, through Irving’s lighthearted storytelling, to return to this original American folktale with as timeless a perspective as the readers who scanned the first print-warmed lines of this work.
Ferguson, Robert A. “Rip Van Winkle and the Generational Divide in American Culture.” Early American Literature, vol. 40, no. 3, 2005, pp. 529–544. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25057421.
April 27, 2018 at 3:46 pm
In “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity” by Blythe Forcey, it is said that the motherly affection of the narrator is what really makes this story relatable. I found this article to be interesting because I think that it very true. I think the way that the narrator acts in a motherly way really helps the story along. Forcey states, “Early American readers were able, as they read this novel, to live through a nightmare of dislocation, alienation, and abandonment that mapped their worst fears. But, guided by the careful and caring narrative of Mrs. Rowson, they emerged safe and unscathed, with all troubling ambiguities and terrors temporarily put to rest” (227-228). I think this is a very important quote because it makes you, as the reader, realize just how good of an author Susana Rowson truly was. To be able to make her readers feel safe even during a scary time, all due to the way this story is narrated. Forcey also states, “The motherly character of Rowson’s narrative voice is evident from her first addresses to the reader… Thus she offers, quite explicitly, to stand in for those ‘natural friends’ that the reader might have lost and to protect them from the horrors of the world” (228). I think this is a very important statement as well. Forcey makes it clear that even from the very first sentence of this story, Susana Rowson manages to take our hand and make us feel safe.
Forcey, Blythe. “Charlotte Temple and the End of Epistolarity.” American Literature, vol. 63, no. 2, 1991, pp. 225–241. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2927163.
April 27, 2018 at 3:45 pm
I also really loved this line. The Earth is the beginning and the end of the cycle of life, and that gets so overlooked in our day to day struggles. Nature and death are like you said, both important parts of the cycle of life. The connection being made in these two lines applies to most of what we have studied through the semester in this class. Even the puritans had themes of nature as a part of their beliefs. Nature and death are the two things that connect humanity because no human on Earth can avoid either one of these things. We will all die and become a part of nature once more, because that is how we began the cycle.
April 27, 2018 at 3:12 pm
Within this passage, we witness the first instance of Charlotte beginning to distrust her own instincts. While at the party she was led to believe would be fun and entertaining, she realizes that being obedient and staying home would have been better than sneaking out with La Rue. As the story progresses we see Charlotte trust those instincts less and, according to Marion Rust’s article “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple'”, her behavior becomes increasingly described as some “form of collapse, in which her future direction is determined by nothing more deliberate than her center of gravity.” This continual falling down that Charlotte experiences effectively acts to demonstrate Rowson’s commentary on the unreliability of young women’s own moral character and how they are insufficiently able to stand up to the force of external moral corruption.
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Rust, Marion. “What’s Wrong with ‘Charlotte Temple?”.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 60, no. 1, 2003, pp. 99–118.
April 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm
Throughout her essay, “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself”, Cath N. Davidson expresses the aspects which make the text so significant. She explains the strength of emotion that is brought because the narrative is told from Equiano himself. She also expresses that the non-traditional storytelling is what makes it interesting and evokes emotion throughout. Davidson ultimately points out that, “Many aspects of the text make it significant, but especially impressive is it expansive reach” (19). His story is told in many parts of the world and allows readers to feel this narrative from place to place based on his narrating abilities. For example, Equiano himself states “in the preceding chapter I have set before the reader a few of those many instances of oppression, extortion, and cruelty, which I have been a witness to in the West Indies”. As readers have been taken from place to place Equiano stops to show the places he’s been and the things he’s seen. Davidson also points out the emotion-evoking tones and voice used by Equiano. Addressing the many aspects of the text Davidson writes, The text combines (in unequal parts) slave narrative, sea yarn, military adventure, ethnographic reportage, historical fiction, travelogue, picaresque saga, sentimental novel, allegory, tall tale, pastoral origins myth, gothic romance, conversion tale, and abolitionist tract, with different features coming to the fore at different times, and the mood vacillating accordingly” (20). His slave trade journey was terrible and cruel; as readers see Equiano journey from place to place they empathize with him more and begin to realize the terrible conditions in which he was under. The narrative of Equiano become more and more effective for readers because of the places Equiano takes us and the voice he uses to evoke that emotion out of readers.
Davidson, Cathy N. “Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, vol. 40, no. 1/2, 2006, pp. 18–51. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40267683.
April 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm
According to William Pencak, author of “Benjamin Franklin’s Biography, Cotton Mather, and a Puritan God,” in this paragraph, Franklin is defending the stakes on which he wrote his autobiography, as well as defending his own morality. Franklin was very dedicated to his moral standing with himself and God and went through extreme measures to ensure that he would end up on the ‘right’ side of things. This particular passage is about the ‘justification of his book’ which ‘illustrates an important philosophical point: the need for ideal principles, realized in practice, to subdue “Natural Inclination,” as well as the bad effects of, “Custom and Company” (Pencak 8). The ‘artifice’ that Franklin describes represents the civilization of people that he is surrounded by and he believes that they should be informed of his knowledge, life, and commitment to God. Franklin didn’t believe that being religious meant attending church, donating to pastors, or things alike. It was about believing in God, Praying honestly, and being virtuous. Throughout this autobiography, Franklin defends and justifies his beliefs and morality.
Pencak, William. “BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, COTTON MATHER, AND A PURITAN GOD.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, vol. 53, no. 1, 1986, pp. 1–25. JSTOR, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27773087.
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