Analysis of the Purpose and Style of Puritan Writers

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Jonathan Edwards wrote “Sinners in the Hands of the Angry Gods,” and Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “The Minister’s Black Veil”. Edwards and Hawthorne appeal to different emotions to better portray their beliefs. Edwards uses strong word choices, similes, metaphors, and analogies, for example, “your destruction would come like a whirlwind,” helps the readers understand a visual of Edwards ideas and opinions. Hawthorne uses plain descriptions, plot and characters to help show emotions on a topic. For example, “Mr. Hooper has a black veil,” helps give the reader a clear view of something with a view of his plain style.

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Edwards uses dark imagery to get his thought on God and sinners across to his audience and he also appears to your emotions because he is talking about death and destruction. Edwards also used devices like analogies in the Puritan plain style. Hawthorne includes description that’s won’t confuse the readers, but also drags out details when describing something. He also uses a plot structure with characters unlike Edwards, showing that he is not using the Puritan style.

In “Sinners in the Hands of the Angry God” Edwards states, “There are black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm, and with big thunder…”. Both of their approaches with their congregations are very different. Jonathan Edwards uses symbolism to create fear in his readers, for example, “…the arrow made ready on the string and justice bends the arrow at your heart and strains the bows.” In this quote he is creating fear towards his readers. Hawthorne uses symbolism to explain the deeper purpose and meaning of the BlackVeil. Hawthorne writes. “Do not desert me through this veil must be between us here on earth.” Edwards uses specific details to show god’s anger towards those who have sinned. Edward states. “The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation.” Hawthorne uses imagery to make clear purpose of the black veil. Hawthorne writes,” his own antipathy to the veil was known to be so great that he never willingly passed before a mirror.” Jonathan uses imagery to allow the reader to truly see the consequences to their sin. Edwards says “and you children are going to hell to bear the dreadful wrath of god.” The comparisons between these two authors is the loyalty of beliefs and the effect of a sin. Hawthorne has a more effective style in sharing Puritan beliefs. Hawthorne uses the character of Parson Hooper to show the hypocrisy of the Puritans. Parson Hooper believes in showing the way to regret instead of scaring his congregation into making that decision, but his congregation’s rejection of Hooper and his veil despite his holy devotion shows how hypocritical they were.

Both texts describe puritan beliefs and sin demonstrates that an example can create a bigger effect than words. The differences are more important because they show two different approaches to sharing religion. The differences allow the reader to see different results and meanings. The differences in the authors approaches to sharing religion show the readers different ideas and results. These differences allow readers to understand the author’s unique purposes. The effect of setting an example has a better effect than words without works which proves Hawthorne’s style to be more effective than Edwards.

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