Sunday, January 30, 2011


Hey! I hope everyone had a great weekend. This is my first time blogging so I'm not quite sure what I'm doing and I apologize in advance for anything weird that I post this week. Anyways, as I was reading this morning I noticed a quote about a recurring theme we have discussed in class/from previous readings: "Under new economic and religious pressures, the idea of a "community" of mutually helpful souls was fast disappearing..." (p. 358). Earlier, the reading talks about the different ways that the 18th century brought about change. Given our discussions about communities, what do you think this quote is trying to imply? Did Winthrop's concept of community as a "city upon a hill" ever exist to begin with or was it "imagined"? Just some stuff to think about. Feel free to post any other thoughts/questions/observations!
See you bright and early,


  1. Weird stuff? Have you seen the kind of stuff that I post up here?

    I suppose one way to think about this community question has to do with necessity. What brought people together at one point in time, and how do historical changes alter the (imagined?) connections that once existed among them?

    Also, it's quite interesting to think about the notion of community as it is represented in the travelogue, the genre in which Franklin and Equiano were writing at times. (Was Rowlandson loosely doing so as well?) In those narratives, the main character is perpetually moving between communities. How can we start interrogating this matter in literary terms?

  2. I think the notion of community was especially true in the Puritan community. Religion and the fear of the unknown proved the greatest binding force in the Puritan community. Their very survival early on was contiguent on each other. When the Enlightenment came along, that fear of the unknown was long gone. You were no longer living a in a "savage" land with Indians clubbing you over the head. This was home for many families. The Enlightenment questioned the notion of community by suggesting the individual must examine his role within society and that society and the individual aren't always the same thing. I guess once people got settled in the New World, they got a little selfish.

  3. yeah I definitely agree of the idea of community based around necessity. The colonists needed to work together for survival, which is essentially what Winthrop was saying. Like Paul said, the fear factor was especially important in binding people together. Building off of that, how did John Edwards use the fear technique in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"? Do you think it was effective? The Enlightenment era was spurred in part by the ideas of Locke, who believed that the more we understood and sympathized with people, the richer our lives will be. In other words, we must be moved and we must experience in ways that are more than just intelligent/theoretical. How did Edwards build off these ideals? Was he successful? your thoughts...