Plain Style and Puritanism!

by: Inna Hwang

What is plain style?

Writing style that stresses simplicity and clarity of expression (but will

still utilize allusions and metaphors), and was the main form of the Puritan writers.



Writing style of America’s early English-speaking colonists. emphasizes obedience to God and consists mainly of journals, sermons, and poems.

Well...first...who were Puritans?

  • Group of English Protestants in 16th and 17th centuries
  • Founded by activist movement within Church of England
  • Left Church of England for social, religious, and moral reforms.
  • Escaped persecution, fleeing to America

Can you guys name any famous Puritans?

Enough with the questions, here is an example of Plain style writing!

"[B]ecause it is idle to propose remedies before we are assured of the disease, or to be in fear till we are convinced of the danger, I shall first show in general that the nation is extremely corrupted in religion and morals; and then I will offer a short scheme for the reformation of both.”

(Jonathan Swift, "A Project for the Advancement of Religion and the Reformation of Manners," 1709)

William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation”

"The one side [the Reformers] laboured to have ye right worship of God & discipline of Christ established in ye church, according to ye simplicitie of ye gospell, without the mixture of mens inventions, and to have & to be ruled by ye laws of Gods word, dispensed in those offices, & by those officers of Pastors, Teachers, & Elders, &c. according to ye Scripturs.

The other partie [the Church of England], though under many colours & pretences, endevored to have ye episcopall dignitie (affter ye popish maner) with their large power & jurisdiction still retained; with all those courts, cannons, & ceremonies, togeather with all such livings, revenues, & subordinate officers, with other such means as formerly upheld their antichristian greatnes, and enabled them with lordly & tyranous power to persecute ye poore servants of God."

So basically...

Plain style writing is exactly what it sounds like, plain and simple writing. It is concise and to the point, leaving a great remark on the audience. It avoids using fluff which makes it easier to understand. No wonder the Puritans used this form of writing! They needed to be clear on what reforms they wanted and what they believed in!

Still don't get it?

Plain Puritan Style Poetry


  • "Http://" Scholastic. N.p., n.d. Web.
  • Jonathan Swift. Digital image. Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.
  • Plain Puritan Style Poetry. Dir. Daniel Trios. YouTube, 5 Sept. 2013. Web.