Anne Bradstreet is among the most famous historical American female poets. Her 17th century works of writing came at a time when the society was male dominated and role of women in the society was much more demeaned. Bradstreet is considered a feminist who advanced her feministic ideas through her writings. Among Anne Bradstreet Writings that depict her feministic character are the poems; “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House" and "To My Dear and Loving Husband."
Looking at this two works of writing by Anne Bradstreet, any modern feminist would agree that Anne Bradstreet was a reformer who believed that women had better roles to play in the society. The first theme that is presented in Bradstreet works concerns the role of women in the society. In a world where women were viewed as the weaker sex, Anne Bradstreet displays admirable strength as she narrates her ordeals in the poem “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House". In this poem Bradstreet narrates the incident of the burning down of their house.
In her narration, though she expresses pain over losing everything in the fire, she depicts strength to move on that would be unusual for women living in such a female repressed society. In this poem she states, “When by the ruins oft I past, my sorrowing eyes aside did cast” (Bradstreets, Line 21). This statement indicates that she was ready to put aside her disappointments and move on. The poem "To My Dear and Loving Husband" also presented the feministic attitude in Anne Bradstreet. Bradstreet was living in a place and age when women were expected to be reserved, domestic and submissive to their husbands.
It was therefore unusual to come across a woman who freely expresses her feeling and passion towards a man. This is however, what Bradstreet was able to do in this poem. She confidently expresses her love and feelings towards her husband though at that time it would be considered going overboard. In the following words she calmly expresses her feelings toward her husband, “My love is such that Rivers cannot quench, nor ought but love from thee, give recompense” (Bradstreet, Line 7). This shows that Bradstreet was willing to go all the way to change how women and their roles were perceived in the society.
Another theme that is clearly brought out in Anne Bradstreet’s two works of writing named above is her religious beliefs and faith in God (Kranzberg, L. 15). Bradstreet has not failed to reveal her belief in Supreme Being and a higher source of power. In the poem “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House" she states that it was the one who gave, that has taken.
This reveals her belief that it is God who gives all things both material and immaterial and can take at any time. In the same poem she claims to have learnt not to keep her hope on earthly things but to depend on God. In her own words she states, “Didst fix thy hope on mold'ring dust? The arm of flesh didst make thy trust? Raise up thy thoughts above the sky” (Bradstreet, 39).
It appears that Bradstreet shares the view that the predicaments they were undergoing were lessons from God. In the poem "To My Dear and Loving Husband" she asks the heaven to reward her husbands, “Thy love is such I can no way repay, The heavens reward thee manifold I pray” (Bradstreet, 10). This expresses her strong belief in God and her commitment to religion. Bradstreet poems have also expressed the theme of hope. The poem “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House" present a trying moment for Bradstreet and her family as they helpless watch their home blaze down into ashes.
She laments saying, “And to my God my heart did cry, To strengthen me in my distress, And not to leave me succorless” (Bradstreet, 8). Though this was a tough time she expresses hope that all will be well. She takes refuge her religious beliefs playing God for strength and accepting that what had happen was god’s will. Her message was that there is hope when you look up to things from above. In the Poem "To My Dear and Loving Husband" Bradstreet is also hopeful that the love between her and the husband will last forever.
She recites, “Then while we live, in love let's so persever, That when we live no more, we may live ever” (Bradstreet, 11). This is an indication that she believed in better times to come in regard to her relationship with the husband. In her objective to change how women are perceived in the society, she remains hopeful that things will change. This is why she was actively involved in developing works that will stimulate the required changes. In summary, Anne Bradstreet was an Artist with various reform agendas.
This are expressed in her writings that present various political, religious and historical themes. Good examples of her works that clearly bring out some of these themes are her poems; “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House" and "To My Dear and Loving Husband." These two poems express various feelings, emotions and beliefs by Bradstreet. The feeling that is clearly brought out in these two poems concerns the role of women in the society and how reforms need be forthcoming.
Bradstreet Anne (1967).Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House. The Works of Anne Bradstreet .USA, Harvard College
Bradstreet Anne (1967).To My Dear and Loving Husband. The Works of Anne Bradstreet. USA, Harvard College
Kranzberg Julie (2009). A Godly Feminist. Universal journal. Retrieved on March 23, 2011, from http://www.ayjw.org/articles.php?id=570193