What attitude of the speaker is expressed in the "Lines Upon the Burning of our House"?

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This poem is autobiographical, based on the fire that engulfed the poet's house in flames. The dominant attitude of the speaker is one of acceptance. She believes that she will be compensated in the afterlife for living a good and pious life on earth. This attitude very much reflects the...

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This poem is autobiographical, based on the fire that engulfed the poet's house in flames. The dominant attitude of the speaker is one of acceptance. She believes that she will be compensated in the afterlife for living a good and pious life on earth. This attitude very much reflects the poet's Puritan faith.

At the beginning of the poem, the speaker's attitude is one of grief. She describes how "to my God my heart did cry," after she was awoken by the "piteous shrieks" and "the light did spy."

Soon after the initial reaction of grief, however, the speaker suggests that she felt gratitude. She "blest His name that gave and took," because He, meaning God, saved her. The implication might be that her salvation was the consequence of a prayer she said moments before. This could be what the speaker was alluding to when she said, "to my God my heart did cry."

After gratitude, the enduring attitude of the speaker is one of acceptance. This could be a reflection of the poet's Puritan faith again, as Puritans believe in predestination. The speaker accepts that this fire constitutes a part of God's plan and that it must, therefore, be for the greater good. Accordingly, she accepts the loss of her possessions with good grace, exclaiming, "Adieu, Adieu, all's vanity." The speaker finishes the poem by declaring that she does not need the material possessions that have burned in the fire, insisting instead that "My hope and treasure lies above."

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The overall attitude that surfaces the most in the poem is remorse for feeling the attachment to the material, self-effacement or the act of putting one self in a place of humility, and the Puritan view of pre-determination and fate as a ruling entity that decides what stays and what goes. Out of all of these, however, self-effacement is probably the one that out stands the others due to the fact that she uses it to push her own feelings away, and to try to self-explore her attachment.

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