Saturday, November 20, 2004

Pilgrim Observations

Whether or not the story ever comes off, reading up on the Pilgrims has been fun. I already knew that the Pilgrims didn't limit themselves to wearing black and white out of some stern abhorrence of worldly pleasure; what I didn't know is their association with black was for the precise opposite reason. They wear black in their portraits because black was in style! (Wonder what interesting conclusions future generations will draw about our religious convictions from our clothes--no doubt they'll notice our stern avoidance of frills and fanciness and conclude we believed elaborate clothing was a sin.)

Puritan literature for children, such as it was, had an interesting angle. One of the most popular books had tales of various pious children, whose good life was sealed by the fact that they died young with religious admonitions on their lips. Had I been a Puritan child, such a tale would have motivated me to promptly go out and pull the cat's tail, in hopes of not being so good as to demand an early death.

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