Fromof Plymouth Planation William Bradford

Fromof Plymouth Planation William Bradford

fromOf Plymouth Planation –William Bradford

Neitzel, American Literature

pg. 119-127

Building Background

William Bradford—For Bradford, the hardships of the long ocean voyage did not end with the landing at Plymouth. In December, while the Mayflower was anchored in Provincetown harbor, Bradford and other men took a small boat ashore to scout for a place to land and build shelter. When they returned, Bradford learned that his young wife had fallen or jumped from the ship. Perhaps Dorothy Bradford was in despair when land was finally sighed and she did not see the hoped-for green hills of an earthly paradise. Beyond the ship lay only the bleak sand dunes of Cape Cod.

Historical Note—The Pilgrims were part of a radical group called Separatists who believed that churches should be independent of any government. This was equivalent in the legal system to high treason. The great body of Puritans were horrified by the Separatists. Separatists endangered the Puritan cause by seeming to prove that Puritanism was really what the government said it was—subversive, anarchical, and disloyal.

Activity Questions

Instructions: On a separate sheet of notebook paper, answer the following questions in complete sentences. I must be able to identify the question and see a complete answer/analysis of the topic in what you provide or you will not get credit.

  1. Reading skills: Determining an author’s purpose—Examining the opening paragraph of the selection, why do you think Bradford chose to refer to the passengers as “they “instead of “we”?
  2. Literary Period: Encounters and Foundations—The Puritans believed that the will of God directs and guides the universe. This belief is demonstrated in the moral anecdotes Bradford includes in his history. What spiritual lesson does this anecdote teach?
  3. Reading Skills: Making Inferences—In the passage below, whom does Bradford call “savage barbarians?” How does he contrast their behaviors with the barbarians the Apostle Paul met?

“It is recorded in Scripture as a mercy to the Apostle and his shipwrecked company, that the barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing them, but these savage barbarians, when they met with them (as after will appear) were readier to fill their sides full of arrows than otherwise” (pg. 123).
  1. Literary Focus: Setting—Setting is the time and place of an event. How does Bradford dramatically evoke the setting of the wintry Cape Cod seacoast?
  2. Vocabulary Development: Multiple Meanings—What is the meaning of the word “carriage” as Bradford uses it in the passage below? Paraphrase Bradford’s sentence.

“But now amongst his company there was far another kind of carriage in this misery than amongst the passengers” (pg.124).
  1. Reading Skills:Comparing and Contrasting—What specific contrast does Bradford point out between the Pilgrims’ and the sailors’ behavior toward the sick?
  2. Vocabulary Development: Connotations—What impression of the Wampanoag does Bradford convey? Which words convey this impression?
  3. Reading Skills: Analyzing an author’s tone—Trace the tone of Bradford’s references to American Indians throughout the selection. What are they referred to as in the beginning of the passage, after meeting Samoset, and in reference Squanto towards the end?

Literary Analysis: Primary Sources

  1. In the passage titled “Of their Voyage, and how they Passed the Sea..,” consider Bradford’s involvement in the events he recounts. Then describe Bradford’s tone (or attitude toward the subject) in this passage. How might his tone be influenced by his role in the events?
  2. What details about the Pilgrims’ circumstances does Bradford convey in this passage (pg. 123, starting at the line break to the start of the next chapter)? How do these details support Bradford’s overall values and perspective about his journey?
  3. Focusing on the section titled “The Starving Time,” What does this passage tell readers about the author and his times? What does it suggest about Bradford’s beliefs?
  4. Focusing on the section titled “Indian Relations,” How is the information in this passage valuable and reliable as a primary source? How does it reflect Bradford’s personal views rather than historically accurate information?

Reading Strategy: Summarize—Whenyou summarize, you restate the main ideas and the most important details of what you read. This process will help you sift through Bradford’s long, complex sentences for key information. Directions: Of Plymouth Plantation has four sections. As you read, record the date or time the events occur and a one- or two-sentence summary of each section.

Section: Their Safe Arrival at Cape Cod
Time of Year:
Section: The Starving Time
Time of Year:
Section: Indian Relations
Time of Year:
Section: First Thanksgiving
Time of Year: