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This chapter revises an old question: Why do early Americanists say that the Puritans weren’t repressed? And what would be at stake if they were? The answer to the second question, it suggests, is happiness. To address the first, it examines a poem, Edward Johnson’s “New England’s Annoyances,” about an aspect of Puritan daily life that tends to fall away from our attention: the fact that daily life in one of the earliest English colonies in Algonquian territories was unrelentingly full of annoyances. The poem’s humor attempts to transform these annoyances from a source of division and fractiousness into an opportunity for mutual felicity. Closely read, Johnson’s poem showcases repression’s ordinariness; historicized, it showcases the situationally specific antagonisms that repression successfully hides from sight: the disturbing experience of sharing a form of existence—abstractly individual personhood—with radically different persons and polities, here the Indigenous peoples of the continent.

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