Anne Bradstreet - Feminine but Feminist

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As a female in a highly patriarchal society, Anne Bradstreet uses the reverse psychology technique to prove the point of her belief of unfair and unequal treatment of women in her community. Women who wrote stepped outside their appropriate sphere, and those who actually published their work frequently faced social censure. Compounding this social pressure, many women faced crushing workloads and struggled with lack of leisure for writing. Others suffered from an unequal access to education, while others were dealing with the sense of intellectual inferiority offered to them from virtually every authoritative voice, that voice usually being male. Bradstreet was raised in an influential family, receiving an extensive education with access to private tutors and the Earl of Lincoln's large library. She was part of an influential family who encouraged her writing and circulated it in manuscript with pride. That kind of private support did much to offset the possibility of public disapproval.

Bradstreet believed that women in her society were treated unfairly, and that gender should be insignificant. In her "Prologue" she addresses conflict and struggle, expressing her opinion toward women's rights, implying that gender is unimportant and male dominance is wrong. Bradstreet asserts the rights of women to learning and expression of thought, addressing broad and universal themes.

The "Prologue" has a humble tone with slightly hidden surprises, containing a muted declaration of independence from the past and a challenge to male authority. Bradstreet also uses a rather apologetic tone to draw in the reader so that they will form an interest in her writing despite her gender. In the beginning she refers to "wars," "captains," and "epics," written specifically by male writers, worrying that her poems will shame the art of poetry. Continuing her self-demotion with an apologetic tone she talks about the "Great Bartas", admiring his works, and sarcastically...
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