How do you characterize the spectrum of tones in the poem, "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The tone shifts from frustrated to longing as the author describes the painful process of releasing a work into the world.

Tone is the author’s attitude toward a subject.  At the beginning of the poem, the speaker seems frustrated and annoyed.  Harsh language like “ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain” is used.  As the work is exposed to the world, there is a combination of resentment and worry, as if the work is at once part of her and not.

In the middle of the poem, the speaker begins to take responsibility for the work.

I cast thee by as one unfit for light,

The visage was so irksome in my sight;

Yet being mine own, at length affection would

Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.

Soon she is describing it as a child, and she as its mother. The speaker begins to describe attempts to perfect the book, eventually acknowledging that she had to send it out into the world perhaps before it was ready, because she had no way to make it better.

During the seventeenth century, women had few rights.  Women writers were rare, and completely at the mercy of men.  Bradstreet's poem demonstrates this conflict.