Anne Bradstreet

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How would you describe the major characteristic of poetry as represented by the work of Anne Bradstreet ?

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Although Anne Bradstreet did find a source of inspiration and technique from William Shakespeare, as a Puritan most diligent in her faith, Bradstreet's greatest inspiration came from her religion.  With Puritan's belief in the close interaction of people with God, who had a plan for each individual.  In a letter to her children before she died, Anne Bradstreet wrote,

"Among all my experiences of God's gracious dealings with me I have constantly observed this, that He hath never suffered me long to sit loose from Him, but by one affliction or other hath made me look home, and search what was amiss."

It is this very sentiment that is evinced in Bradstreet's  "Here Follow Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 19, 1666."  For, in this poem, Mrs. Bradstreet's characteristic Puritan sense of predestination is illustrated as she writes,

 I blest His name that gave and took.....

Yet by His gift is made thine own;

There's wealth enough, I need no more,

Farewell, my pelf, farewell my store.

The world no longer let me love,

My hope and treasure lies above.

In addition to her strong religious faith, Anne Bradstreet was very devoted to her family, and she often wrote verses to and about them.  Her poetry addressed to her husband evinces wit, emotional strength, and, oddly for a Puritan, admission to the physcial aspect of marriage.  Thus, her love poems reveal Bradstreets human side and her lyricism.  Her poem about her children in which she uses the extended metaphor of the nest is both poignant and lyric, as well.  Furthermore, some critics find Bradstreet an early feminist as she certainly was daring to write poetry at all, let alone some of the loving verses that she did.


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