The history of America is recorded in numerous artifacts of culture. One can make judgments about the past from visiting a museum, reading a history textbook or a piece of historical fiction, watching a film, or listening to a teacher. These are all valid resources for learning about history, but one of the most interesting ways is to critically read a piece of literature from a period in order to learn about the people of that time's culture and values. It allows every reader to actively participate as a historian when they evaluate a text. Two of Anne Bradstreet's poems serve as perfect examples of this type of reading for history. The poems "In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet, Who Deceased August, 1665, Being a Year and a Half Old" and "Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666 Copied Out of a Loose Paper" can both be used to investigate a variety of issues about life in the 1600's. The poems can be used to reveal a vast quantity of information from a wide variety of topics. Closely reading Bradstreet's poetry reveals a wealth of information.
Reading "In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet, Who Deceased August, 1665, Being a Year and a Half Old" unveils a large amount of information. The title of the poem displays that poetry was considered a serious art form due to the fact that the poem is about a very serious matter and not merely trifles. The title also reveals to the reader an exact year in order to pinpoint the time being studied. The title shows that people of the time had relatively close families because the poem is about a person mourning over a young grandchild. The actual poem shows that the people of the time equate the cycles present in nature to the cycle of human life. This is evidenced in the second stanza, which discusses the rotting of trees at old age, and the death of young buds. This stanza is meant to be an extended metaphor comparing human existence to the life of plants....
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