Amish and Mennonite Fiction
Evangelical writers of Amish romance novels often channel their convictions into their work. What is their motivation for creating such a popular genre? How is Amish culture represented through romance and chastity? And what can readers expect from them? Is it an attempt to bring the Amish culture to the wider world? Read on to find out. This article will discuss some of the main aspects of Amish & Mennonite fiction.
Evangelical writers of Amish romance novels channel their convictions in their books
The vast majority of Amish romance novels are written by non-Amish authors with only a tenuous connection to the Amish culture. As Evangelical Christians, these authors are not necessarily Amish themselves, and thus have to rely on their own creativity to capture the unique Amish setting. In addition to their strong beliefs and convictions, these evangelical writers also make use of artistic license to create their stories and characters.
Evangelical Christian writers of Amish romance novels have a unique insight into the chaste culture. They often use a chaste courting scenario between two Plain teenagers. While the protagonist of these books is occasionally tempted by the trappings of modern society, they rarely leave their Amish lifestyle. In many cases, Evangelical writers of Amish romance novels channel their own convictions into the fictional characters and plots.
Evangelical authors of Amish romance novels are not only religious but also popular in mainstream Christian fiction. According to the Romance Writers of America Association, Amish books sell for $720 million annually. Their books are popular among mainstream Christian women and have received positive reviews from men. The books have even survived the "trend" phase, with authors such as Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter making bestsellers.
In their Christian fiction, Amish people are expected to practice what they preach. The evangelical authors of Amish romance novels are able to channel their convictions into their books while simultaneously maintaining a sense of romance and family life. Ultimately, they hope to make their readers feel close to their communities. They have been writing for more than a century and continue to do so.
Readers may be wondering if they should read Amish romance novels for their own reasons. Many Amish romance novels offer an experience of chastity that goes beyond the boundaries of Christian fiction. This genre of literature has three distinct levels of chastity: a moral framework, a Christian community that has a strict set of rules, and a society that has yet to catch up with hypermodernity.
Amish culture is portrayed through chastity
A common trope of Amish culture is chastity. Many novels about Amish culture have no sex and are therefore not considered erotic fiction. Evangelical Christians, on the other hand, may find Amish novels more erotic, but they will probably appreciate a clean read. Amish women are expected to live the same way, so there's no reason for sex to be present in Amish romance novels.
Although chastity is an essential part of Amish culture, it's often absent from popular entertainment. While "Weird Al" Yankovic's 1996 Coolio parody "Amish Paradise" portrays Amish nonresistance in an amusing way, Amish-themed romance novels generally elide chastity. Meanwhile, violent conflict is a staple of "reality" television. One popular show depicts an "Amish mafia" of hitmen enforcing church discipline. While "real" television shows are not accurate, they're highly insulting and abusive of the Amish.
Popular Amish fiction often focuses on certain values, comforting evangelical readers while obscuring progressive values and rejecting nationalism. In fact, Amish culture is often confused with other patriarchal religious communities, including the Seventh-Day Adventists and Latter-Day Saints. Although they may be similar in aesthetics, these distinctions often mask real differences in values and lifestyle.
During the day, Amish women wear simple clothing without jewelry. They rarely cut their hair and wear it in a bun. They also do not wear jewelry, and their clothing resembles that of 17th-century European peasants. Although they do not participate in modern society, they still participate in community affairs and pool their resources to help others in need. They also visit doctors, dentists, opticians, and other professional services.
Amish culture is portrayed through romance
Amish & Mennonite fiction often features characters from the Amish and Mennonite communities as lovers. Romance is an integral part of Amish culture, but there are many parallels between Amish fiction and erotica. While the Amish community prohibits sex, homosexuality, and children out of wedlock, it also prohibits electronic devices and musical instruments. Thus, characters in Amish and Mennonite fiction have to deal with forbidden desires in order to fulfill their goals and avoid harming the Amish community.
Amish readers look for romance novels that will not offend their religious ethics or spur them to deeper Christian devotion. Mennonite fiction also includes chaste stories where the protagonist does not know first base and is pregnant with her baby. This is similar to Victorian romantic literature, where men and women were often seduced by the same woman, but the Amish view it differently.
Christian Romance Novels have a similar effect. Many of these novels feature young ladies with deep desires, often with men whipping and lip-biting. However, Amish fiction does not feature whipping or sex with a gelding. In addition, female characters are not allowed to kiss or have sex with the male protagonist, indicating that women are not allowed to have sex outside of heterosexual marriage.
There is a long history of Amish and Mennonite fiction, dating back to the turn of the century. In fact, Barnes & Noble recently reprinted Helen R. Martin's Sabina: An Amish Novel, reprinted in 1905, and dozens of Amish and Mennonite books hit bookstores each month. In the inspirational fiction market, Amish fiction is one of the biggest categories. More than half of Christian fiction is Amish-themed.
Amish culture is portrayed through morality
Amish fiction has created a community of religious women with strong female characters. The novels have become a popular form of entertainment for Christians and middle-aged religious women in a patriarchal society. Many of these novels feature largely female characters and reflect the values that a predominantly female Amish community stands for. This close-knit community of women may be appealing to modern Christian readers seeking a more religious worldview.
In the 1996 parody Amish Paradise, "Weird Al" Yankovic portrayed the Amish as non-resistance. In contrast, most Amish romance novels elide their pacifism, and "reality" television scripts violent conflict into its narratives. Some shows even create fictional groups of hitmen to enforce church discipline. However, these fictional groups are both insulting and abusive.
Because Amish life is strictly regulated by law, there are some instances in which the Amish are portrayed in a negative light in fiction. In a famous episode of the popular television series "MacGyver," for example, we see the Amish speaking their own dialect to communicate. In an episode titled "The Outsiders," MacGyver is injured and begins to regain consciousness after hearing Amish men speak their language.
Amish stories vary from region to region. Augustus Gibbons describes Amish culture as being lacking in sophistication. He criticizes the Amish for not helping his aunt carry a rocking chair. He also depicts Levi as sexist, believing that women should serve men and make them comfortable. These two characteristics make the Amish seem alien to modern readers, and the author does not want us to forget this fact.
Similarly, Zlotoff's portrayal of Amish culture in "MacGyver" is misleading. While the Amish in this series would move if they were attacked, their portrayal in the story is far from realistic. It is also inaccurate because Zlotoff's characters have "no intention of leaving their land" unless it is necessary. And while Zlotoff may be a savvy story teller, his characters aren't prone to following morality.