Early US Literature

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 19 other followers


The Logic in Lydia Maria Child’s An Appeal for the Indians

In the nineteenth century, the American expansion into the western frontier led to the destruction of the Indian way of life. The Indians were not only being murdered, but also their culture was being exterminated. Many abolitionists have appealed for social justice to Indians in either speeches or pamphlets delivering their account on Indian rights. In 1868, The Indian Peace Commission issued a report condemning white American’s annihilation of Indians for two centuries (214). However, this report was claimed to be promoting ‘a war of extermination against Indian culture” (214). In An Appeal for the Indians, Child responds to this report and calls for justice to Indians who underwent one of the worst genocides in their encounters with the settlers. Child’s thinking in this pamphlet astounds readers due to its logic, powerful ideas, and well-supported arguments.

 The report states, “Let polygamy be punished”(219). Child refutes this idea and espouses a new approach that advantages those who are not polygamists. She writes, “In this way, the fixed habit of many generations might be weakened” (219). Child makes a good argument when she reasons that force would not be the preeminent way to embrace. She adds, “Indians, like other human beings, are more easily led by the angel Attraction, than driven by the Demon Penalty” (220). Child proceeds to support this claim by negating another claim that “Indians are incapable of civilization”(220). Child believes that although Indian’s mode of warfare is ferocious; yet, it does not define them entirely. “All wars are barbarous to a shocking degree,” exclaims Child. Furthering this argument, Child brings historical element in her refutation. She writes, “If this proves incapacity for civilization, the Greeks and Romans were incapable of it; for they did the same” (220).

Child attempts in her appeal to show how Indians can be perceived by others. Clearly she writes, “Simply as younger members of the same great human family, who need to be protected, instructed and encouraged, till they are capable of appreciating and sharing all our advantages” (220). When reading these words, it becomes very evident that Child has an altruistic thinking to tell and humanitarian cause to advocate. A simple logic, Indians are humans like every one else. Hence, people have to get along even if one of them is less advanced. In this case,  help and support are given.

Then, Child wonders about the contradictions that reside between American religious beliefs and their actions. She argues that Indians would not embrace the teachings of Christianity because they do not see them applied. Child asks, “How could those simple people believe in a religion whose professors manifested no sense of justice or mercy toward them?”(222). At least Indians, as Child points out, have consistent beliefs. She writes, “ [Indians] profess to believe in revenge, and practice accordingly; whole we profess a religion of love and forgiveness, and do such things as these!” (223). Reading through such astute words appear to prove that Child has sound logic. Ostensibly, Child declares that Indians are as smart as others, but because they don’t share the same cultural traditions as others, they lack of civilization is attributed to them.

Works Cited

Child, Lydia Maria. Homomok & Other Writing on Indians. Ed. Carolyn L. Karcher. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press: 1986. Print.


Teaching Native Americans English: Hidden Motives and Ideology

Language defines people and the world people live in; therefore, when a new language is taught to someone, one’s cultural identity may slowly begin to change or grow as different languages convey different histories. This is often the case in post colonial countries where educational and religious systems are typically one of the first things colonizers develop while occupying and controlling a country because these things begin to change the culture as a whole. They use language, education, and religion to change people into the ‘new’ people they want them to be. This is also the case with the Native Americans as they were quickly taught English and how to read the Bible. While the agenda of the colonizers may not be clear, this change in language and religion was presumably done so to transmit religious ideology and to, quite simply, make them “civilized.”

One obvious reason for teaching Native American’s English was so that they could read the Bible and convert to Christianity. Child explains that Apostle Elliot, a Christian missionary among the towns in Boston, was successful in gathering congregations of Native Americans around town, even though it took him twenty-six years to start spreading this knowledge of God. Jennings believes that the missionaries weren’t all about God, but an attempt to get money from the Parliament. Elliot and Winslow, according to Jennings, presented an untruthful case that the colony was too poor and needed money to convert the Native Americans (207). Once they were awarded the money “the Company became a permanent center of activity for well-wishers of Massachusetts, enlisting the aid of wealthy and important people who thus became committed to active advocacy of the colony’s interest… the colonists even built ‘the grandest edifice’ of Harvard College with the money they were awarded by the Company for missionary use” (209). While we may never know today the true motives behind the colonists’ actions, Child states, “few [colonists] were engaged in this good work, multitudes were continually abusing and cheating the natives” (222). She gives the example of the camp of ‘the praying Indians’ called Wamesits located near the town called Clemsford. When a barn was burned down, the Wamesits were questioned and they thought because of their Christian values they would be safe, but they were instead fired at and their wigwams were set on fire (222). This is very different from what the “Appeal for the Indians” advocates for as it states, “By educating their children in the English language, these differences would have disappeared, and civilization would have followed. Nothing would then have been left but the antipathy of race; and that, too, is always softened in the beams of higher civilization” (219). Even once the Native Americans used the English language and had the same religion as the colonists, they were still engaged in continual violence with one another.

This idea of language and culture is still prevalent today. Lyons explains how Luther Standing Bear remembers the first time they were introduced to the idea European implements of writing, but how this technology was then quickly used to change them.  He quotes Bear as he explains the situation of the teachers saying, “‘do you see all these marks on the blackboard? Well, each word is a white man’s name. They are going to give each one of you one of these names by which you will hereafter be known’” (448). Lyons explains that this shows “the development of education designed to promote the eradication of all traces of tribal identity and culture, replacing them with the commonplace knowledge and values of white civilization” (336, 335). According to Lyons, what these Native Americans want is rhetorical sovereignty, “the inherent right and ability of peoples to determine their own communicative needs and desires in this pursuit,” (449) not be changed culturally. By learning English, they can communicate and participate in the English community, but this does not mean that they want or have a need to change who they are as a culture or society.

While some people believe America to be a place where one can come to practice any religion and to speak any language, many others would argue that with our educational and religious systems, the underling goal is to make everyone the same as they are meant to force ideological views onto people. In all colonized countries, the first thing the colonizers do is change the people’s religious and educational structures to resemble theirs; to ‘civilize’ them. They use the word ‘civilized’ to mean ‘like us’ or ‘better,’ when in reality, these people’s cultures and lives functioned perfectly the way they were. The Native Americans didn’t need to learn English or Christianity to be ‘civilized,’ though it may have been necessary for better communication to know and understand English.  I would argue that the hidden motives of the colonizers were to change the Native Americans and to make them more like the colonizers.

Works Cited

Child, Lydia Maria. Homomok & Other Writing on Indians. Ed. Carolyn L. Karcher. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press: 1986. Print.

Jennings, Francis. “Goals and Functions of Puritan Missions to the Indians.” Ethnohistory 18.3 (1971): 197-212. JSTOR. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.

Lyons, Scott Richard. “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What do American Indians Want from Writing?” College Composition and Communication 51.3 (2000): 447-68. JSTOR. Web. 1 Aug 2013.

The Ideology of Conquest, Colonialism and Nation-building in Early America

In The Invasion of America, Francis Jennings joins the historiographical movement of indicting the Europeans for the depopulation of the Indian peoples in North America, seizing their lands deceitfully, inflicting wars, and destroying their culture. I argue with Jennings that the concept of America as a wilderness was a myth constructed by Europeans who were the early colonizers and whose belief in their divine superiority as Christians as opposed to the inferiority of the heathens would later create the divide between the whites and the coloreds. The earliest English colonizers operated on certain beliefs they brought from Europe, prominent among them was their religious leanings through which they perceived their presence in the New World and the inhabitants of that world. However, they would not take into account the rightful place of the indigenous people because they have been habituated to dehumanizing all those who differed from them. The same ideals provided them the basis for the creation of a new nation and hence, America was founded on fallacious beliefs which Jennings calls myths and enumerates them in detail.

Jennings lists European ideologies that provided the thought for the colonial enterprise and racial discrimination of the Indians. He first names the crusader ideology because the Europeans tended to act on the same ideas and institutions they knew at home (3) and the ideology of crusade was deep-rooted and fresh in their minds. According to this ideology their enemies were also the enemies of the Crusaders’ god and so outside of the protection of the moral law applicable to that god’s devotees (6). Similarly, Anthony Pagden writes that European Atlantic ideologies were fundamentally informed by medieval perceptions of Christian universal supremacy and classical theories of empire.

Then there was the myth of the virgin land which Jennings calls “widow land,” a claim he supports by furnishing records to demonstrate that Indians tilled their lands and even provided food to the Europeans because they could produce surplus of it. However, the Europeans created and spread the idea that the Indians roamed the land and not inhabited it. This falsity  generated and then standardized the ideology of virgin lands, idle and open for seizure by those who would cultivate them. By usurping Indian lands, and in many cases putting them to misuse, they made made the land barren. Thus, the land was not virgin when the Europeans arrived but “widowed” by their actions (30).

The Europeans believed in proselytizing the Indians and never tried to learn anything from them because of their belief of self-superiority. This thought led to many problems that they and the Indians had to face. They understood that they were transplanting themselves in the New World while Jennings argues that this is an erroneous belief because it is not possible for any society to transplant itself from one place and time to another. Every society develops through the process of acculturation which was also the case with the Europeans who settled in America.

David Abernathy surveys the European colonial expansion and emphasizes that three specific ideologies—the development of the nation-state, new expansionist economics, and proselytizing religion—resulted in the rise of European colonialism of America and elsewhere and the same ideologies became the cause of the fall of their imperialism because of their fallacious stance.

Works Cited

Abernathy, David B. The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415–1980. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001. Print.

Jennings, Francis. The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, And the Cant of Conquest. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1975. Print.

Pagden, Anthony. Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain, and France, c. 1500–c. 1800. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995. Print.

The Life of Frederick Douglass Digitized

On February 20, 1895, America bade farewell to Frederick Douglass, one of the most influential human rights activists in American history. Douglass spent almost his entire life opposing slavery and advocating issues on gender.  Douglas was very famous for his speaking career, which he started by narrating his experiences when he was a slave. To understand Fredrick Douglas, his life as a slave and his life as a freeman, I have looked at four digital databases that explore him: “Frederick Douglass Papers Edition”, “Frederick Douglass: National Historic Site”, “Frederick Douglass Comes to Life”, and “Digital History: Frederick Douglass’ Letter to Mary Todd Lincoln.”

The first digital database is “Frederick Douglass Papers Edition,” an excellent project that was integrated in 1973 at Yale University, as a result of consultations among the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The project aims at preserving the primary source materials that document Frederick Douglass. The database offers a biography of Douglass supplemented by a timeline of events associated with his life. Another excellent feature in this site is that it includes a general bibliography of Douglass, from his autobiographies to books about him to books directed especially for youth. Moreover, this project offers information about Douglass’s speeches, debates, interviews, and finally his correspondence under which it includes a list that indicates the date of the letters, the recipients, the place in which it was written, and the location of where the text was deemed. Overall, the website is a great attempt to supply a well-annotated scholarly publications of Douglass’s works.

In the second digital database, “Frederick Douglass: National Historic Site,” Douglass’ life is not comprehensively explored; yet beautifully presented. This database serves as an exhibit of Douglass’ life at Cedar Hill, Washington, D.C., where Douglass spent the last years of his life. Because this home was important in Douglass’ political life, this exhibit comes to shed light on one major part in his life. The features available in this site include a house tour, portraits of Douglass, and an image gallery. In these features, visitors can see a wide range of Douglass’ personal possessions, books, his home furnishings, and photographs of his family and friends. It is an ambitious project; however, the fact that it is designed specifically to tackle one part of Douglass’ life makes this site less useful when the exploration of his life is needed.

The “Frederick Douglass Comes to Life” website has a poor design, but contains a lot of information that is designed for classroom discussions and hands-on workshops. This website provides a brief biography of Douglass. Also, three of Douglass’ important speeches are included: “The Church and Prejudice”, “Fighting Rebels with Only One Hand,” and “What the Black Man Wants.” Another great feature in this website is the Douglass Scholars Program that aims at spreading Douglass’ message and gives information about Douglass’ life that would inspire young people in their lives. The program is intended for elementary through secondary schools. The idea behind this innovative program is great. The main goal is to teach Douglass’ principles. The principles are:

  • The Proper Use of Power Is To Promote the Common Good.
  • Give Up Something You Want In Order To Help Someone Else.
  • Overcome Doubt and Fear.
  • Understand Why and How To Control the Human Ego.
  • Do What Is Right and Proper Even If No One Is Looking.
  • Use Knowledge and Understanding Wisely.
  • Overcome Indecisiveness.
  •  Make Gratitude a Part of Every Thought And Action.
  • Practice the Skill of Listening Carefully Before Making Judgments.
  • Remain True To Your Word.
  • Hold a Vision For the Desired Future.
  • Recognize That Your Success Is As Much a Motivation To Others As To You.

The program is given in various forms: a three-day comprehensive program that invites students to grasp these principles, or one-day and two-day programs, that offer only introduction to the principles. Schedules for these programs are outlined in the website.

The last digital tool, “Digital History: Frederick Douglass’ Letter to Mary Todd Lincoln” examines only one particular aspect of Douglass’ life, which is his relationship with Abraham Lincoln. In order to do so, Douglass’ letter to Lincoln’s recently widowed Mary Todd is fully examined. In this letter, Douglass thanks Mary Todd for her gift of Lincoln’s walking cane. The site displays a manuscript of the letter and its transcript. It also provides a brief biography of his life and a section for additional web resources about Douglass.

In closing, the above-mentioned digital tools are probably the most visited ones. It is very evident that the life of Frederick Douglass has not been abundantly digitized. More work is needed to address one of the most influential heroes in American history.

Works Cited

“Frederick Douglass.” National Historic Site. Web. 26 July 2013.

“Frederick Douglass Comes to Life.” Frederick Douglass Speeches-Seminars on Race Relations and Gender Equity. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2013.

“Frederick Douglass’ Letter to Mary Todd Lincoln.” Digital History. Web. 27 July 2013.

“The Frederick Douglass Papers.” The Frederick Douglass Papers Edition: Series Two. Institute for American Thought. Web. 26 July 2013.

Tools for Finding Scholarly Biographies Online

Scholarly databases are a useful tool for students or academics who are looking to access a wide array of information from the comfort of their home, office, or desk.  With the number of databases available, it can be confusing or even intimidating to figure out where to begin if a user has not utilized these tools before, either through a subscription service, public library, or college or university library.  In looking at three similar databases, it is easy to determine that, despite these databases being similar in nature, that these tools vary greatly.  To examine each database, I attempted to search for the biographies of three prominent Puritans: Anne Hutchinson, John Cotton, and John Winthrop.

Dictionary of Literary Biography

The main page of the Dictionary of Literary Biography looks harmless enough.  There are basic and advanced search options, as well as the option to browse the database by author or to browse volumes of smaller biographical information based on publication or ethnicity.  At first glance, Dictionary of Literary Biography covers a wide range of writers, ethnicities, and backgrounds.  Not all of these writers are strictly American or have published in exclusively one genre.  This database is well-suited for those who are looking for a broad range of writers over a span of time and geography.  James L. Harner, in the Literary Research Guide, writes, “Most volumes are organized around a genre, group, or type of writer within a historical period of a national literature; the majority of the 368 volumes published by October 2012 are devoted to literatures in English” (Harner).

When using the basic search for the three Puritan writers in question, the database did not return any results for Anne Hutchinson, John Cotton, or John Winthrop.  The advanced search displayed the same lack of results, and after browsing the catalogue by author, I discovered that none of these writers were listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography.  In taking random samples of the authors who are listed on the website, the Dictionary of Literary Biography may not be suited for those looking for biographies of early American writers, but instead may better serve those with a more contemporary focus.

American National Biography Online

When arriving at the main page of the American National Biography, the search function can be impressive to those who are familiar with scholarly databases, but very intimidating to those who may not be as experienced with digital scholarly tools.  The “basic” search gives users the option to search by name of their subject in either articles or bibliographies, and also allows options to narrow possible results by dates of birth and/or death, occupation, place of birth, or to include or exclude results with illustrations or additional online resources.

The first search I tried in the database was for Anne Hutchinson, leaving all of the search parameters at their default settings except for sex, which I chose as female.  American National Biography Online returned one result, a 1350-word biography written by Elaine C. Huber in Antinomian Leaders.  The biography itself is helpful because it not only talks about Hutchinson, but links to the biographies of her associates, including John Cotton and John Winthrop.  Both Cotton and Winthrop’s pages displayed extensive biographies as well as portraits of both figures.

Each entry also includes a brief bibliography of scholarly works about that individual.  The formatting of the bibliography is a little confusing because it is all squished into one paragraph, without breaks or traditional formatting, but it is not confusing enough that an average user cannot sort it out.  Overall, the American National Biography Online is an excellent database to use for those who are comfortable with using advanced search features.  For those who may be new to scholarly databases and having to set extensive parameters, this online tool may take some getting used to.  This database does receive praise from scholars, however, as Harner describes this resource as “the country’s standard national biography for the foreseeable future” (Harner).

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has a very user-friendly homepage with the basic search readily available.  If a user were to scroll further down the page, he or she could find other various resources that the Dictionary has to offer, such as information on themes throughout history or about various historical documents, such as the Magna Carta.  In addition to the basic search, there are also tabs to bring up browsing functions such as searching the database, browsing the database, or searching the database by theme.

When attempting a search for Anne Hutchinson, the database returned one biographical result and one thematic result.  The biography, written by Michael P. Winship, is comparable to the biography found at the American National Biography Online, but also gives a brief paragraph about her famous children.  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography also returned one thematic result, titled Imperial Lives in the Oxford DNB.  This feature article discusses a number of British citizens who, for some reason, were considered dissidents in terms of political, religious, or social views.  The feature article is interesting because it not only describes the relationships among some of these historical figures, but also includes portraits of people discussed in the article.  Harner writes of this database, “Besides its superior search capabilities, the online ODNB offers other advantages over the print version: it is updated and corrected three times per year, hyperlinks allow for easy navigation between related articles (and within longer ones) and for connections to other electronic sources that provide additional information on the biography, and images are in color” (Harner).

Out of the three databases, I found the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography to be the most useful of the three.  Not only did the database return a moderately-detailed biography, but also provided search results that extended Hutchinson’s biography and made connections to other historical figures who may be useful when pursuing scholarly work.  For those who are familiar with databases, all three resources provide easy to use interfaces that allow users to search using a variety of parameters.  For those who may not be as familiar with online research resources, it may take a little bit of playing around in order to understand how these tools work, and to figure out how to get the results a user is looking for.

Works Cited

American National Biography.  The Oxford Index, April 2013.  Web.  29 July 2013.

Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online.  Gale Databases.  Web.  29 July 2013.

Harner, James L.  “American National Biography Online.”  Literary Research Guide.  5thEd.  E-book.  30 July 2013.

———-.  “Dictionary of Literary Biography.”  Literary Research Guide.  5th ed.  E-book. 30 July 2013.

———-.  “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.”  Literary Research Guide.  5th ed. E-book.  30 July 2013.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  Oxford University Press, 2004-2013.  Web. 29 July 2013.

Phillis Wheatley: From Slavery to International Recognition

Phillis Wheatley arrived to Boston as a child and sold to John Wheatley to assist his wife. Although misfortune brought Phillis Wheatley from West Africa to Boston, she was still fortunate enough to have masters who took the time to educate her. Phillis received an education perhaps even better than most free woman in Boston. Because of her unique situation with the Wheatley family, Phillis Wheatley’s life and work cannot be viewed entirely as slave poetry. Her fortunate circumstances were the cause of some ridicule in terms of her poetry and the topics about which she wrote. She received mixed reviews from both the European Americans and African-Americans.

Phillis Wheatley was an anomaly. Not many slaves in 18th century America were educated enough to read, let alone compose poetry. However, when reading Phillis Wheatley’s poetry it is easy for readers not to ponder over the fact that she was just a slave when she wrote her poems. The topics she chose to write about all allude to a well-educated, well read woman, in fact, Wheatley, was all of that and a slave to the Wheatley family. Her poetic style has often received mixed reviews because her topics do not dwell on slavery and often resemble the classical style of poetry. Critics tend to judge Wheatley’s poetry based on her situation as a slave. They either praise or condemn her poems based on her roots. According to Thomas Jefferson, “Misery is often the parent of the most affecting touches in poetry. Among the blacks is misery enough, God knows, but no poetry . . . Religion, indeed has produced a Phyllis Whately [sic]; but it could not produce a poet” (Applegate, 125).

When reading her poetry, I find that it is difficult to determine her race, the topics she chose were far removed from the situation of most fellow African slaves of her time. However, in poems such as “On Being Brought From Africa to America” she believes that she was saved on that journey from Africa. “’T Was mercy brought me from my pagan land” (L1) Wheatley remembers Africa, but finds it unsaved by God. Her devotion to God allows her to be grateful for her life, even as a slave. She viewed her self blessed to have been chosen as a slave and removed from her pagan lands. Additionally, you can sense her devotion to God in her poem “On the Death of a Young Lady of Five Years of Age” she consoles the parents of that child and reassures them that she has gone to the lord. “This know, ye parents, nor her loss deplore, She feels the iron hand of pain no more” (5-6) she sees beyond the physical body, this is one of the reasons why her poetry seem not to discuss the issues of slavery. Wheatley was around the same age as the girl in the poem when she was snatched away from her parents. However, her devotion to God, allows her to accept her situation and not lament it.

Phillis Wheatley may not have focused entirely on Africans and slavery when writing her poetry, however, by writing poetry comparable to her European American contemporaries she proves that the African intellect is equal to and no less than the European American intellect. The poetry she writes does not desert her roots but reiterate her abilities as an intellectual. Critics, such as Devona Mallory, explain that Phillis Wheatley’s uses classicism in her poetry as a method to present her motherland and her roots to the whites using themes that her white readers can relate and understand. Mallory argues that Wheatley uses poetry as a means to express her thoughts freely cloaked with imagery and illusions from Greek and Latin studies (Shields). To judge her solely as an imitator of other great poets is unfair. To judge her as a traitor to the African slaves is equally unfair. Suffice it to say that, Phillis Wheatley managed to get the attention of slave owners, critics and politicians through her poetry.

Work Cited

Applegate, Anne. “Phillis Wheatley: Her Critics and Her Contribution.” Negro American Literature Forum 9.4 (1975): 123-6. Print.

Shields, John C.,, Lamore,Eric D.,. New Essays on Phillis Wheatley. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2011. Print.

Wheatley, Phillis,, Odell,Margaretta Matilda.,. The Poems of Phillis Wheatley : With Letters and a Memoir. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2010. Print.

Annotated Bibliography for Literary Criticism and Theory Databases

This is an annotated bibliography for those interested in literary theory. The purpose of this project is to make it easier to find scholarly databases that contain fundamental criticism.

American National Biography Online, Oxford University Press, Web. 1st August 2013.

For any historicist, American National Bibliography online is well worth using. Almost all the Early American Authors are there. There is an extensive biography on William Bradford. It explains his early works as a historian; so, that can be crucial to a historic outlook on a text. It also contains a long biography on Lydia Maria Child, who is, honestly, just now being studied again. The iography goes into fairly good detail about her book Hobomok—which involved interracial love btween a woman and a Native American. It’s nearly impossibly not to find an author—even from Early American literature—on this database. For Historicists, this is a vital tool. Historicism puts works of literature into the context of what was/is happening at the time. Furthermore, historicism uses the author’s life as a backbone for textual analysis of prose, poetry, and drama. This database, as well, needs institutional access. It is lamentable that many high school students can’t use this resource. It’s very helpful in engaging in literary criticism—Stephen Greenblat would be of note—but it would be a comfort to know that developing minds could read it too. Most people have little or no patience at all for long biographies—unless they are used for historical context in higher education.

Gender Studies Databases, EBSCOhost, Web. 1st August 2013

This database, hosted through EBSCO, contains a great deal of content on  LGBT theory applied to many literary texts. However, the main reason this website is so enticing to a student in American literature, is that it applies these theories to pre-Civil War texts. For example, one only need to punch in Melville to retrieve a few solid academic entries ranging from homosexuality in “Billy Budd,” to “heterotopia.” So, although some of the resources come up with few results, they are peer reviewed, scholarly works. Interestingly enough, there are twenty-sic articles on Gender Studies about early American literature, alone.  However, there are considerably less results for other early writer; and, at other times, no entries at all. With that in mind, this is a good apparatus to use for LGBT or Gender Studies. It’s almost a springboard to delve into so much more. All the articles have extensive bibliographies. This helps any academic find many paths to this particular literary criticism. Also, this particular literature is not typically looked at through this critical lens. It provides a different view at the literature we have come to know.</p>

International Women’s Studies Database, EBSCOhost, Web. 1st August 2013

This is a fairly good starting point to find feminist criticism on many texts that pertain to Puritan literature. Even more so, there are quite a few academic journal articles dealing with a Women’s Study perspective on the Puritans alone. It certainly behooves a pupil to venture into it, because there seems to be more specific feminist criticism on this database than the others. The Women’s Studies criticism is, of course, in the forefront. This website, too, is published an EBSCO vehicle,; but, it sort everything one needs for these theories and criticisms into a neat package. Something that is rather interesting, is the fact that if one searches for “Walt Whitman,” there are a host of different articles about Women’s Studies and LGBT criticisms, but about ninety percent of them are written by men.  This, in some ways, makes the database more diverse. Therefore, the apparatus is useful in really engaging in arguments that are going on about Early American literature in these fields. The database is highly recommended for anyone who wants to delve into the nature of Women’s Studies—which has become more and more important in the last twenty years.

JSTOR, JSTOR.org, Web. 1st August 2013

JSTOR is a beast when it comes to finding theoretical criticisms on just about anything.  If one does a sear for Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, it is only necessary to fill in a blank. For example, there are countless Derridian interpretations, and Foucault viewpoints; everything ranging from post-structuralism to feminism. There is a plethora of knowledge in this database.  There are post-colonial arguments in articles concerned with the Puritans and its giants—William Bradford, John Winthrop, etc. There is a great deal of work done in the sociological field of  Cultural Studies that use Pierre Bordieu’s essay, “Distinction,” to show different class and socio-economic issues. Of course, Marxism from Barthes to Althusser is represented by this database. There are many articles of Marxist thought dealing with the ideologies of the Puritans, Melville, Dickinson, and Whitman. Marxism is one of theories favorite tools and it works incredibly well applied to early American literature. To use this database, you must either pay or have access from some institution.  For most scholars, this is not a problem due to access through a university.  It is a great database for literary criticism—possibly the best this author has access to.

20th-Century Literary Criticism Gale Learning. Web. 1st August 2013.

Literature Criticism Online is a database that deals with Twentieth Century literary criticism. Notwithstanding, these theories are applied to numerous texts that entered into the canon starting back to 1400. In fact there is a very long edited book that critiques everything from 1400 to 1800. The layout is nice and has pictures of the original text. As far as literary criticism is concerned, there is a vault of different theories and criticisms. The articles are peer reviewed, academic, trustworthy writings. There is a good amount on Melville and Hawthorne—which is not uncommon—including studies about Marxist readings of “Bartleby, the Scrivener : A Story of Wall Street.” There are articles that assiduously look at Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in a diverse amount of microscopic views. These include, racial studies, Marxism, historicism, and cultural studies. Furthermore, one can find book length chapters on Charles Brockden Brown and Lydia Maria Child. Thus, the database is a wonderful tool for looking straight for criticism. It saves the student time and shortens the path to finding the articles he or she need. However, it is also only available through use at a university or other institution.