Pilgrim’s Progress is a rather lengthy journey that when taken in all at once can seem like a daunting task. Certainly, one can understand that it has much to do with God’s connection with man, or as one would probably more appropriately say- man’s connection to God. One could also argue that it has much to do with man’s connection to himself and his own faith, the debate within oneself as to the correct path and why. There are probably not many that would argue against either of those viewpoints and neither will this essay. However, it is the contention of this essay that the parallels between Pilgrim’s Progress and John Bunyan’s life are numerous. This essay will take a look at several of the readings pulled from Pilgrim’s Progress, as this piece of literature is broken down into sections. This essay will also take a very extensive look into the background of Bunyan and use that as a guidepost for looking at this work called Pilgrim’s Progress.
The background to the life of Bunyan is instrumental when looking at the journey taken in many of the stories, they are, at times, virtually inseparable. When one takes into account much of the history of the man, one can see that Pilgrim’s Progress is extremely connected to journeys, questions, and fears of the man who wrote it.
At first, John Bunyan found religious books to be distasteful preferring to read instead books on news or George on horseback- wanting something that would stimulate the mind and teach the curious arts or something that contained the old fables. However, with the influence of his wife’s loving attention, he came to find a curiosity among the scriptures. He and his wife used to read together at the fireside and it awoke within him a sense of religion in his heart and began to produce some external reformation. It was as though the need for religion was merely lying dormant waiting to be awoken and sought. He attended a sermon that contained within it a message about the sin of Sabbath breaking. He viewed this sermon as a message. He imagined that this sermon was aimed directly at him and he expressed it in later correspondence as sending him home ‘sermon smitten’ and ‘sermon sick’.