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Anne Bradstreet - Essay Example

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Anne Bradstreet

Apart from the tough living conditions, Anne Bradstreet led a challenging life, always keeping up with the demands of being the mother of eight children and the wife of a Puritan Governor. She had to uproot her household on numerous occasions and move to even more distant, uncivilized and unknown areas so that her husband and father could increase their properties and gain even more political power in their colony.
Even though Anne Bradstreet's father was a very powerful, prominent leader of the Puritan community, he inspired his daughter to become a poet. Thomas Dudley was amazingly encouraging of his Bradstreet's literally appetite and never opposed her desire to either learn or write; she was very educated for a woman of her times. So it is very understandable why she dedicated so much of her best work to him, "her "Quaternions," or poems on groups of four: the four elements, the four humors, the four ages of man, the four seasons of the year, and the four monarchies-the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman" were all him. (Martin 14). This could be the key reason that despite the severe demands of Puritanism, Anne Bradstreet was the first woman poet to have her work published in the New World. Her first publication, "The Tenth Muse Lately sprung up in America, By a Gentlewoman in those parts" was not recognized for best poems and it was published in 1650 by Steven Bowtell. Her brother-in-law, Rev. John Woodbridge had taken a manuscript of her poems to London, in 1647 and had them published without her authorization. Many think the reason he did this was to prove that females could be educated, write and published without coming into direct competition or becoming inferior to men. Bradstreet was caught wholly off-guard and was a little embarrassed too, not by her work itself but simply by the publication of it. It is best explained in her own words: "I cast thee by as one unfit for light, Thy visage was so irksome in my sight; Yet being mine own, at length affection would Thy blemishes amend, if so I could: I washed thy face, but more defects I saw, And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw." (Millier and Parini 4). However by 1666 she was already hopeful of publishing a second edition. No such manuscript exists but the 1678 publication of "Several Poems", "By a Gentlewoman in New England . . . Corrected by the Author and enlarged by an Addition of several other Poems found amongst her Papers after her Death" shows the feminist poet at the height of her literally best.
Bradstreet lived in a society where they needed their religious beliefs to survive the rigorous stress of the New World; their concrete faith dictated that God had a plan for everyone was what got them through. While Bradstreet's faith was absolute, there were times when she struggled to keep faith. In her spiritual autobiography addressed to her children, she confesses that on occasion she wondered about the truth of the Scriptures and questioned the existence of God and His plans. "I never saw any miracles to confirm me," she says in her autobiography and adds, "and those which I read of how did [I] know but they were feigned." (Lonsdale 185). She ultimately quelled her fears and subdued her doubts not through theological reasoning but through a poet's spirit. Initially Bradstreet's writings were not ...Show more

Summary

Anne Bradstreet was an influential poet that overcame many obstacles in her lifetime as well as paving the way for future women poets. Born in England, Anne Bradstreet was the second of six children born to Thomas Dudley and Dorothy Yorke. In 1630 she came to America with her father and Simon Bradstreet, her husband, aboard the flagship Arbella…
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Anne Bradstreet essay example
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