Response Paper 1
Anne Bradstreet was born in Northampton shire, England in 1612 and she immigrated to America along with her parents and spouse to Massachusetts, America. It was the time when she started writing poetry in English verses in the American colonies and established herself as one of the first poets who did poetry in the puritan age. Her poetry was highly influenced by the work of Spencer and the poetry of the Elizabethan era. However, in her life, only one collection of her poems was published named The Tenth Muse whereas her other collection of poems Contemplations, was based on the theme of religion but this collection was published after the mid-nineteenth century.
Bradstreet reflects her puritan faith and her bond with God through her poetry because she views the Earthly life as sad and grim. Moreover, her poetry is also centered around the idea of matrimonial love and nature, according to puritan practices at that time. She praises God and all the deities through her poetry, her collection Contemplations reflect a religious theme. For instance, in these verses she is ruminating on nature and its beauty, she then thinks about God who created nature “The more I look’d, the more I grew amaz’d” (Bradstreet, lines 3-4). Moreover, she prefers heavenly life over life on earth because immortality cannot be achieved in this life. Furthermore, she views that man’s life on the earth is limited and according to her Puritan faith, “man was made for endless immortality” (Bradstreet, line 7).
In another poem, On my dear Grand-Child Simon Bradstreet, Who dyed on 16. Novemb. 1669, being but one moneth, and one day, she submits herself to the will of Almighty and places her trust in his divine plans, “Blest babe, why should I once bewail thy fate,” (Bradstreet, line 5). She is extending her voice to the readers and advising them to remain content with whatever they have and submit themselves to God’s will.
Similarly, Matrimonial love is also a striking theme in her poetry because, in puritan age, matrimony was considered both a virtue and a heavenly blessing. She viewed marriage as a bond created by God and in puritan faith, husband and wife were encouraged to love and respect one another. In her poem, To My Dear and Loving Husband, she is valuing her love and emotions for her husband more than worldly material objects such as “gold” and all the “riches of the East” (Bradstreet, lines 5-6). In this verse, she is showing gratitude to her husband for his love and care towards her and she is longing for the company of her husband, who is not with her at the moment “Thy love is such I can no way repay; The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray” (Bradstreet, lines 9-10 ). In this instance, she is asking God to reward him in the afterlife. The love poems written to her husband depicts her happy matrimonial life and due to this happiness, she expresses gratitude towards Almighty, as well.
Phillis Wheatley’s poetry is set in a different era and setting as compared to Anna Bradstreet's poetry but both the poets have a similar theme in their works, love, and praise for God. Bradstreet follows her puritan faith in her poetry and similarly, Wheatley praises God because of her Christian faith. However, Wheatley's poetry also discusses her struggles as an African slave and she seeks help from the Almighty whereas Bradstreet praises him in her good times.
The poetry of Anne Bradstreet is symbolic of her puritan faith and through the themes of religion, spirituality and matrimonial love, the puritan values are manifested in her work. Moreover, the supporting verses taken from her poetry makes it further evident that she is very close to her puritan faith and values because her poetry centers around her religious and social believes.
Bradstreet, Anne. “To My Dear and Loving Husband.” (2012).
Bradstreet, Anne. Poems of Anne Bradstreet. Dover Pubns, 1969.
Bradstreet, Anne. “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet, Who Deceased August, 1665, Being a Year and Half Old.”. As published in The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Volume A. 5th ed. Paul Lauter, Editor. Houghton Mifflin Company (2006): 408.
Bradstreet, Anne. “The prologue.” The Works of Anne Bradstreet (2012): 15-17.
Bradstreet, Anne. “Contemplations.” (2012).
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