Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 Symbols And Motifs
Illness Sickness is a repeating concept in Of Plymouth Plantation, in part since it was simply a fact of daily life in the 17th century; the Pilgrims struggle with scurvy both during and after the trip to Plymouth, Native Americans repeatedly agreement smallpox from European settlers, and the Pilgrims’ company affairs in London are at one point tossed into turmoil by an outbreak of the plague. The reasons for most of these health problems were poorly comprehended at the time Bradford was writing, so it is not surprising that he frequently attributes them to divine retribution.
For instance, he apparently concurs with a letter claiming that upsurges in Boston and Charlestown are the result of citizens’ sinfulness. This expected link between illness and morality, together with the contagiousness of a number of the era’s deadliest illness, permits Bradford to use illness as a metaphor for individuals and circumstances that threaten to “contaminate” (14) the Christian neighborhood at Plymouth.
A letter from John Pierce alerts Bradford that Plymouth may be “infected” (69) by the males Weston is sending out over. On the other hand, Bradford uses the Pilgrims’ willingness to tend to numerous people suffering from illness as a sign of their Christian sensation. Bradford states that not only do the Pilgrims persist regardless of the hazard of infection, however the truth that they often escape without ill-effect is a sign of God’s favor.
The White Angel The White Angel is among two ships– the other is called the Relationship– that Allerton sets up with the English partners to buy without the Pilgrims’ understanding or approval. Possibly since Allerton ultimately purchases the White Angel for his own usage, it looms larger than the Friendship in Bradford’s account; both ships are sticking points in the Pilgrims’ disagreement with their partners, but the White Angel in particular comes to represent the greed and double-dealing that threaten to thwart Plymouth colony.