Explication of “The Author to Her Book”
As shown in "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet, perfectionism is not a new phenomenon. Bradstreet uses diction, imagery, and tone to display her insecurities about, and dislike of, her own work, resulting from the human imperfections that have created an inadequate piece of literature.
Her choice of words in this poem reveals that while admitting a close and intimate relationship with it, the she is intensely dissatisfied with her book. The words "errors," "irksome," "blemishes," "defects," and "homespun" all emphasize the speaker's disgust. The author can't seem to find one redeeming feature in the book, although she does everything within her power to remedy the errors that, to her, are so blatant. She "washes," "rubs "stretches” and "dresses the book, always trying to improve its quality by editing, revising, rethinking, and rewording it. Bradstreet finally gives up at the end of the poem, having tried unsuccessfully to improve her book, and sends it out to meet the criticism she fears is inevitable. The author of the book describes herself as the mother and the book as her child; this metaphor lends to the poem a sense of expectation of, and hope for, perfection from the author. Mother's entertain the hope that their children will be beautiful and smart, perfect, accepted by society, The author nurtures and cares for the book as a mother would her child until it is "snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true." Once the author realizes that her child, the book, is subject to the criticism of the "vulgars," she becomes embarrassed and criticizes her own work. However, just as a mother to her child, she cannot help but try and mold it into something the public will accept and adore. Just as these same mothers are often disappointed with human imperfections, the author is disappointed with her own human imperfections, resulting in an inadequate piece of work. When all her efforts fail, she...
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