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123helpme.Com

By | October 2011
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Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet’s poetry reflects Puritan thinking like sunlight softly shimmering on a quiet country pond. There is life and much activity just below the quiet surface, yet one must look below to discover its depth. As the first notable poet in American literature, it is fitting that this young woman, a product of an atypical upbringing, should use her extensive education to express thought and emotion well beyond the writings of her time. Still, her writings always reflected the natural values and religious foundation of her time period.

In the poem IN REFERENCE TO HER CHILDREN she writes , “ I had eight birds hatched in one nest, Four cocks there were, and hens the rest. I nursed them up with pain and care, Nor cost , nor labour did I spare, Till at the last they felt their wing, Mounted trees and learned to sing ” ( 1 – 6 ). This imagery is very concrete, she need not describe the chirping of the fledglings or the rustling of the leaves as the nest sways gently on its arborous perch. Yet the reader provides this filler because she writes in a manner that is familiar to us all. Certainly it is familiar to the Puritans, who no doubt were in tune with nature. The very survival of the Puritans depended on their interaction and understanding of nature. Although, she expresses her instinctive motherly concerns in her writing , the poem ends in an expression of realistic resolve to the inevitable cycle of life. “Farewell, my birds, farewell adieu, I happy am, if well with you.”

It is not only her observations that Anne Bradstreet shares with us, but she truly lets her feelings take form in her prose. This is really the first time in American literature that an author has opened the door to the room of their inner emotions. In fact, she never really thought that they would be published or even read at all by anyone else. What a loss it would have been to us all if we never had the opportunity to share Anne Bradstreet’s experiences with...