February 10, 2013
Analysis of Anne Bradstreet’s Poems
Anne Bradstreet’s poem In Reference to Her Children, 23 June 1659 is a poem telling of her love, care, and worries for her children. In Reference to her Children” is both metaphorical and symbolic, expressing everything from pathos to love and a hope for her eternal reward. (www.papermasters.com) The poem is structured with a single stanza with every other line rhyming. The speaker seems to be speaking to a semi- private audience given the intimacy of the poem, and the way it speaks to the children. The tone of this poem is familiar, using the language in an abstract way by being birds; but the language is also concrete, and it is not hard to understand what this mother is trying to say. In lines 1-40, Bradstreet sets up an image of a mother bird and her nest filled with babies: four girls and four boys, representative of a human mother and her children. The speaker seems to be Bradstreet, speaking the poem first as a story about her children, as the tone changes near the end of the poem though it is clear she is writing the poem to her children. The speaker tells an emotional story of her time and experiences with her children over the years of them discovering their own independent lives. Bradstreet uses this poem to express her love and worries for her children as they grow and develop their own lives.
The tone of this poem seems to be semi joyful, and familiar in the beginning, of a mother telling about her children being born and nursed with pain and care. In line four, the speaker tells of sparing nothing in order to take care of her young; showing how deep her love is for them. At first it sounds joyful as she speaks of how her young “Mounted the trees, and learned to sing” (Bradstreet) this line gives the sense of joy that comes with learning, nature and singing. The tone then changes, while the speaker is telling of her oldest bird growing up and taking flight, she becomes very sad...
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