What is the tone of the poem "In Reference to Her Children?"

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The tone of Anne Bradstreet's poem "In Reference To Her Children" is reflective, and perhaps even a little mournful. It has a bittersweet poignant atmosphere because the poet is remembering both the good things and the bad things about raising little ones in a family. The softer tones reflect the happy comforting things about giving and receiving affection from the little ones in a family with words such as "downy" - it makes us think of protecting vulnerable infants, keeping their soft fragile little heads and bodies warm and safe from harm. But being a Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet is not only concerned with their physical welfare - like all parents she is concerned with their spiritual welfare too. She hopes they will not be tempted or snared into dangerous situations through a juvenile lack of wisdom and experience. There is also a tone of resignation to the poem as she realises that with eight of them to worry about, the chances of all making it through without serious danger to their souls is small. There is also, towards the end, a sombre tone as she accepts the thought of her own death and therefore her inability to influence things to go well for her little "chicks," but hopes to live on among them in memory hoping they will remember all she taught them about right and wrong, morals, temptation and good and evil.

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