In Anne Bradstreet’s seventeenth century poem, “The Author to Her Book” she compares the awareness of nurturing and properly raising a child to the writing and revising of a book. The speaker is caught between conflicting love of her book and shame of its weaknesses, both of which are expressed in the metaphor and in the tone – both expressing the true mammalian nature of her motherhood, ultimately creating a tone of sincerity and loyalty. The sonnet begins with the words, “Thou ill-formed offspring,” demonstrating
the speaker’s perilous and somewhat despised attitude towards the book. Albeit, the following line shows a polar sense of indebtedness of the book’s blind allegiance with the words: “Whoafter birth did’st by my side remain.” No matter how terrible the book may be or how negative the reaction of critics, the book will always remain loyal to the author. The metaphorical semblance of a mother simply cements the loyalty of such a bond. However, the binary opposition between love and
disdain continues throughout the poem, and likens to the complex relationship between mother and child. This antagonism between love and hate symbolizes a mother’s cold-heartedness towards a fetus she perhaps did not desire. However, the birth of the child, like the publishing of the book, softens the mother’s heart and she finds comfort in the unquestionable loyalty. The opposition and eventual changing of heart bolsters both sincerity and loyalty, solidifying the poem’s tone. Through the sincere and loyal tone, it becomes apparent that the
speaker herself is proud of her work, but fearful of others’ responses to it. Although she refers to the book as a “rambling brat” and “hobbling,” due to the impressions of others, the
tone is of protective sincerity, thus the mother-child metaphor. The
narrator says, “‘mongst vulgars may’st thou roam,” in reference to the
outside world being ultra-critical of the book and child – purporting a deep sense of motherly protection. This...