William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation

789 Words4 Pages
William Bradford is often recognized as the “Father of American History” because he wrote Of Plymouth Plantation, an eyewitness account of the British colonists’ travels to the New World. Through his narrative, Bradford hoped to document for future generations the lives, hardships, and accomplishments of the separatists. One passage, “Starving Time”, chronicled the settlers’ first winter in the New World; he reported numerous deaths and illnesses, but also described compassionate neighbors who nursed and cared for the sick. Additionally, he assured readers that the Lord sustained the pilgrims during their trials. Through literary techniques such as precise tone, emotionally charged diction, and careful organization, William Bradford documented…show more content…
He begins by describing the deaths on the plantation as “most sad and lamentable” (line 1). These words introduce a mournful tone that the author maintains while discussing the sorrows of the winter. The diction places the reader in a dejected mood. Lastly, the words illustrate the extreme nature of the winter by telling the reader that death was the “most” distressing aspect of the season. The language of extremes continues: “…especially in January and February, being the depth of winter” (line 2); the word “depth” also suggests an extreme condition: the most intense months of winter. Through using diction that suggests maximums, Bradford adds an aspect of hopelessness to the mood and tone. Bradford presents statistics in order to reinforce the severity of the winter: “…that of 100 and odd persons, scarce fifty remained” (lines 4-5). These logical figures support the strong emotional argument that has already been established, and help solidify it in a definite…show more content…
He then describes specific tasks the kindhearted settlers did to help their fellow citizens; they “fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, dressed and unclothed them” (lines 7-8). By recounting explicit work, Bradford assures the reader that the kind caregivers assisted the ill in all aspects of their lives. He then summarizes the charitable colonists’ aid: “in a word, [they] did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to be named…”. By presenting details before the main idea, Bradford emphasizes the physical labor that comprised the care that the benevolent pilgrims provided. Bradford has already shown that the kindly citizens were hard-working and charitable, and continues to characterize them: “…[they did] this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren; a rare example and worthy to be remembered” (lines 9-11). By fully describing the caregivers’ personal qualities, Bradford supplemented his account of events with an account of the character of the pilgrims, providing an explanation for their

More about William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation

Open Document