Anne Bradstreet Questions and Answers

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What do you think the turning point of the poem "Here Follow Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10 1666"?

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The turning point in this poem by Anne Bradstreet comes in the moment when the speaker realizes that "all's vanity" in the realm of earthly things. In the preceding lines, the speaker has been mourning the "pleasant things" which have been destroyed in the fire which has consumed her home. She mourns that no more guests will ever sit under the roof of her house, and enumerates the many things she recognizes as having been her special favorites of old and which are now destroyed, including her trunk, chest, and favorite places to lie in the house.

After having recognized the "vanity" inherent in mourning her material things, however, the speaker's focus changes. She "chides" herself, asking whether the wealth of God, and of her own soul, was really something that could "abide" on earth. Instead, she reminds herself, she should be focusing upon the home which will await her in the sky, designed by the "Architect" to receive her in death. Unlike her earthly house, which could be and has been destroyed by fire, the heavenly house is "permanent."

In the knowledge that this home awaits her in her next life, then, the speaker is able to resign herself to the reality of what has happened to her material possessions. In the final line of the poem, she states that her "hope and treasure" lie above, with God, and is able to console herself with this belief.

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The turning point in the story occurs when the speaker quits pining over the ruins of her home and begins to realize that she should be focusing on her home in heaven rather than her home on earth. In lines 20-35 the speaker describes walking past the charred remains of her home as she reflects on all she has lost in the fire, and she is to some degree feeling bad about this tragedy. Beginning in line 36, she finds fault in this line of thinking. During the remainder of the poem, she ponders her home in heaven and no longer thinks about her losses or her home on earth.

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