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An Analysis of Anne Bradstreet's "The Prologue"

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An Analysis of Anne Bradstreet's "The Prologue"

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  • March 2008
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Anne Bradstreet's poem, "The Prologue," portrays the struggles of being a woman in a Puritan society. She realized that in a Puritan society, women were not meant to speak their mind and have strong opinions. With this poem she acknowledges her role as a woman in society even if she doesn't agree with it. Anne Bradstreet shows her recognition of men's supposed superiority in that time period with this line: "Men can do best, and women know it well" (40). Regardless of her acknowledgment of her role in society, she uses her poetry to convey her feelings and opinions about it through honesty and humor.

Anne Bradstreet lived in a time where women were meant to keep quite and tend to the children and home. She wrote "The Prologue" during this time to express her opinion on a woman's voice in society. She wrote in an atmosphere in which women were relegated to traditional roles. When reading this poem it is clear to see that Anne Bradstreet valued knowledge and intellect because she was a free thinking. Some even considered her an early feminist. The voice throughout this poem is at times hard to determine. In the first half of the poem she is adhering to the roles of women and that men are better. But then in the second half she has a voice and wants people to hear it by saying things like, "Men can do best, and women know it well / Pre-eminence in all and each is yours / yet grant some small acknowledgment of ours" (40-42). She wants for women to be accepted as intelligent and opinionated people as well.

Thematically, Anne Bradstreet wrote about many different topics that are both extensive and varied. She wrote about things like culture, nature, religion, family, death and history (Cowell, 2008). There are reasons why Anne Bradstreet wrote "The Prologue." I believe that Anne Bradstreet's intentions were those of informing and speaking her mind. She realized that even if she had written a good poem, most people would assume that it was...