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What is a feminist critique of Anne Bradstreet's "To My Dear and Loving Husband"?

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:42 PM via web

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What is a feminist critique of Anne Bradstreet's "To My Dear and Loving Husband"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 29, 2013 at 11:53 PM (Answer #1)

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Anne Bradstreet's "To My Dear and Loving Husband" is a Puritan woman's poem of her devotion to her husband, Simon Bradstreet; in fact, it is a devotion not unlike that of the Christian for her God. For, the poet declares that she is the recipient of a love that he cannot fully return, and it is a spiritual love which will last eternally.

Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.... 
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

From a Feminist criticism of the poem, then, Bradstreet's verses may raise the issue of patriarchy in the line in which the poet claims that she cannot repay her husband's love and in the suggestion of her being somewhat inferior to her husband as in the lines "The heavens reward thee manifold, which imply the husband's superiority and "If ever wife was happy in a man" in which the word wife is used, but man, rather than husband, is employed. For wife connotes belonging and dependency, while man suggests independence and strength.

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