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Word Count: 1,340
Throughout the history of American literature an individuals perception of death reflects upon his approach towards life In Jonathan Edwards Puritan revival Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Herman Melvilles realistic story Benito Cereno Emily Dickinsons melancholic poem 712 and William Cullen Bryants Transcendental poem Thanatopsis distinct representations of death greatly affect several individuals actions Jonathan Edwards a prominent leader of the Great Awakening depicts death as a formidable punishment in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God which causes him and his congregation to live in constant anxiety and fear Babo a dissenting slave from Benito Cereno behaves in a rebellious manner because he foresees death to be his savior from constant torment The indifferent and nonchalant attitude of the speaker of 712 develops from his belief that death is an eternity of oblivion while the speaker of Thanatopsis leads a tranquil and fulfilling life in light of his comforting approach towards death In addition The Puritanism present in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God the Realism present in Benito Cereno the morbidity present in 712 and the Transcendentalism present in Thanatopsis contribute to an individuals opinion of death Jonathan Edwards and his Congregation live under restrictive boundaries and ascetic conditions because they fear a wrathful death from the hands of an indignant God as seen in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Edwards explains to his followers that they should diverge from a wicked and gluttonous life or else they must face a sentence of condemnation to hellEdwards 201 Like the Puritans Edwards preaches to his disciples to remain pious austere and self-righteous in order to refrain from being sinful Consequently Edwards and his adherers do not indulge in any carnal desires or leisurely activities However according to Edwards because mankind is naturally sinful they expose themselves to Gods random destruction at any time All that can save them from hell is the mere arbitrary will
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