In the poem "Contemplations," Anne Bradstreet discusses the themes of death and solace, or relief from pain. How does Bradstreet develop these themes? How and why does she relate these two concepts?

Bradstreet contrasts the seeming beauty of nature with mankind's sinful past and argues that while nature may seem a kind of paradise, true happiness can only be found in heaven.

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Bradstreet develops these themes mainly by comparing the beauty of nature to the incomparable beauty of heaven and the creator and by describing the difference between this beauty and the ugliness of sinful mankind.

The first seven stanzas deal with the beauty of creation and of how the beauty of the creator must be incomparably more beautiful. Typical of this is Bradstreet's description of the sun, "so full of glory that no Eye / Hath strength thy shining Rays once to behold," yet "How full of glory must thy creator be?" Yet the the praises the poet would make to God are subsumed by the poet's "imbecility," or the notion that her appreciation of beauty could in any way atone for man's sinful history.

Bradstreet recounts the history of Adam (stanza 11) and Eve (stanza 12), and of Abel and Cain (stanzas 13–14). Her point is to contrast the shortness of an individual life with the long history of humanity, on the one hand, and the eternal beauty of nature, on the other (stanzas 17–18). While man may seem ephemeral compared to the history of creation, Bradstreet points out that nature is not to be praised simply "because they're bigger and their bodyes stronger" (20) since mankind, though comparatively frail, is "made for endless immortality." Even though nature can be very beautiful, this "world of pleasure" can offer "neither honor, wealth, nor safety." That can only be found in heaven.

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