PBS Frontline’s God in America helps us appreciate the Puritan way of life exhibited in Geraldine Brooks’ Caleb’s Crossing and will help us get ready to read John Winthrop’s sermon “A Model of Christian Charity.” Let’s have you just view segments of this for homework. Then we will ask you to compose a response in a Word document and paste it in the comment box under this blog post. God in America is a great resource for teachers and students about the spiritual life of Puritans, the Puritan Doctrine, John Winthrop, and Anne Hutchinson. Please view minute 12-33 of this documentary. It dramatically shows how Anne Hutchinson sets the stage for colonial Americans to “recreate” their idea of religion here and how one’s “consciousness” can speak out against the state. It was fun the other day in class when we discussed Geraldine Brooks’ comparison of John Winthrop to the Taliban. You all perked up and made more connections to the tension in both the novel, Caleb’s Crossing as well as the historical record of John Winthrop. Again, here’s that link if you want to review that interview.
Directions for homework: View the specific twenty minutes of the movie outlined above (you can view more if you have your other homework completed). Then isolate one moment in the documentary that you think will help you appreciate future intellectual or cultural trends in studying the next three centuries of American literature. One example of this assignment may be a reflection of how Anne Hutchinson inspires other brave thinkers in American history to speak their “consciousness” against the state. Can you think of a specific example? Likewise, does any moment in the documentary answer this question for you: Why have people come to America? (This will be a fun question for us throughout the year when we also reflect on why do people to come to America today?) If you do find an answer to that from the documentary, feel free to explain that moment as your response. Another way to consider this documentary is to reflect on Anne Hutchinson’s position as a woman. One question we will be asking all year is how does gender, race, and class function in American culture? And how do those who are discriminated by gender, race, and/or class seek education and power? Does a moment in the documentary provide you a response to these questions? Comment on one of these topics. Make your response 4-7 sentences. Whatever you decide to comment upon, please be sure that you use Standard English and revise your prose in a Word Document. Try reading your phrase out loud to create more fluency with your response. Have fun!