Huswifery Analysis

I need help analyzing the poem "Huswifery" by Edward Taylor. I've been working on an essay on the topic which begins:

In this poem there are some critical analyzations that some may not understood when read the first few times. A discussion would be the best way to help some to understand these misunderstandings or confusions in this poem. For one example the meaning of each stanza (stanza by stanza), could complicate the matters of analyzing... which just happens to be the state of which im in when it comes to the third stanza.

So far in my anylization of the poem, in the first stanza, the author uses a medaphor of a loom to his faith possibly asking god to apply the necessary means for him to be a missionary to his best ability for god. In the second, he furthers his metaphor, refering to other parts of a loom, asking god to use him, as well as states his pleasure in the will of god. He also asks god to dress him in the glory of heaven to assist with his missionary works.

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have done a good job of reading the poem closely and understanding that in the poem the act of making clothes serves as a religious metaphor. I'm not sure if the first paragraph, as written, really says much; it strikes me mainly as filler. 

One way to do an analysis is to divide your essay into sections, each dealing with a single aspect of the poem. Thus the topics you might want to cover are:

Introduction/Background: As an introduction to the poem, you should mention that Edward Taylor lived from 1642 to 1729, was born in England, and was a dissenting minister who emigrated to the United States in response to the 1662 Act of Uniformity. "Huswifery" reflects Taylor's strong religious beliefs.

Meter/Form: The poem consists of three six-line stanzas of iambic pentameter, rhymed ABABCC. You might discuss Taylor's use of assonance and rhythmical variations in this section, and then cover more details about the stanzaic form.

Dramatic Situation: The next section of an analysis might cover the dramatic situation of the poem. It is written in the first person and addresses God in the second person, in a style quite similar to a prayer. In this section of your essay, you might talk about the genre of poem as prayer and the influence of the Psalms on the poem's style.

Central Theme and Metaphor: As you mention, the central metaphor of the poem is the notion of God clothing the speaker and making the speaker his instrument. In discussing metaphor you want to separate the "tenor" (how God's grace can transform the speaker) from vehicle (the images of spinning and clothing), showing how the poem moves from images of creating garments and clothing the speaker to the speaker's inward transformation. 

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For a fuller, more detailed response to this question, you may want to pose it as a question in the Q&A section of eNotes.  That's the best place to pose questions about particular works of literature.

The poem is a prayer that implies the speaker's utter dependence on God; if the speaker's life is to have any value, then God must take that life into his own hands and shape it as he thinks best.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
To me, the point of the poem is that God is everywhere. God is part of our lives, and part of human nature. We do not need to look beyond ourselves for God. He does not have to be distant and incomprehensible, because he is literally ever-present.