Early America was a time of hardship, exploration and a deep belief in God, this is best portrayed through is literature. Within early American literature there are many similarities and differences from the work of William Bradford to John Smith. “In sundry of these storms the winds were so fierce and the seas so high, as they could not bear a knot of sail, but were forced to hull for divers days together.
And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull in a mighty storm, a lusty young man called John Howland, coming upon some occasion above the gratings was, with a seele of the ship, thrown into sea; but it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards which hung overboard and ran out at length. ” William Bradford Of Plymouth Plantation chapter 9 paragraph 3 Of Plymouth Plantation.
In this passage alone it is clear how William Bradford’s writing and life are centered around God when he says “but it pleased God” it shows his belief in predestination (the belief that whether you’re going to Heaven or Hell is predetermined) by showing how he is always looking for signs from God that indicted ones destination. The narrative Of Plymouth Plantation is written in Protestant Plain Style which is a very direct and simple style of writing it was typical in early American literature, and can also be seen in the work of John Smith.
“Captain Smith, who, by his own example, good works, and fair promises, set some to mow, others to bind thatch, some to build houses, others to thatch them, himself always bearing the greatest task for his own share so that in short time he provided most of them lodgings, neglecting any for himself” John Smith the General History of Virginia page 71 paragraph 1.
The main difference between Smith’s writing and Bradford’s is in Smith’s writing he refers to himself as Captain Smith well referring to his companions as just them, by doing this he makes himself seem superior to his companions he also dose this when he says “he provided most of them lodgings, neglecting any for himself” which makes him seem a greater and more generous man then he was. This is in stark contrast to Bradford’s writing where he refers to himself as he and as one of them, which shows his modesty.
Another major difference between the two narratives was the purpose and motive. In Bradford’s narrative he is writing for future generations of Plymouth to understand the struggles and hardships that their forefathers went through to get them to this great land by God will. Where as in Smith writing he aims to make himself look better in order to appeal to potential sponsors for future expeditions well at the same time tell a embellished account of Virginia’s history.