Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peter Cartwright

     Similar to Franklin and Venture's works, Cartwright begins his autobiography with a preface explaining why he is writing.  Cartwright believes that he can teach some of the "modern preachers" how to preach better by writing this book.  It has the same air that Venture and Franklin's works have: I have lived a good life and others can learn from me.  Pages two and three detail the childhood of Cartwright and the journey his family took to reach the new land of Kentucky.  He speaks harshly of "the savages" which is understandable since Cartwright is the typical backwoods preacher.  He obviously does not know any other way to refer to them.  As Cartwright grows older, the Methodist religious revival grows and spreads.  Cartwright however does not buy into it in the beginning much to the disappointment of his devout mother.  Cartwright simply does not want to give up his dancing, gambling, and racing.  This part (page five) reminded me a little of the Puritan society simply because both religions were so very strict, uptight, and devout.  However, after a particularly good night of dancing and celebrating, Cartwright feels very guilty and starts to attend religious meetings and revivals.  He cuts off all his old relationships and feels bad for some time until he finally feels like his sins have been forgiven.  This is when he buys into the movement completely. He attends meetings regularly and repeatedly says that the Methodist religion is the best one out there (page seven).  The revival continues to spread and Cartwright eventually becomes a preacher.  It is interesting to me that he approves of the "jerks" and believes they are a sign from God (page 9), but that he doesn't believe in the ones who prophesy about the end times (page ten).  Even though he says he consults his Bible and prays when it comes to these matters, he seems to pick and choose which methods seem to be effective for his congregation.  The whole last part of his writing (pages eleven through thirteen) are perhaps the most interesting to me though.  Cartwright is way ahead of his time when he asserts that slavery is a negative, evil thing for the slaves themselves and also the slaveowners.  He is also futuristic when he says that slavery has the potential to tear apart the country and cause Civil War (page thirteen).

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with you, about Cartwright being similiar to the works of other writers that we studied. It is interesting how Cartwright did not buy into the same beliefs as his mother.