Anne Bradstreet As First American Feminist

1848 words - 7 pages

Anne Bradstreet as First American Feminist

Feminism today remains prominent because even while women’s rights are very strong, women are still fighting for equality every day. In the time of Anne Bradstreet, women had few rights and they were seen as inferior to men. Anne lived among the puritans whom ruled her everyday life. Although it was against the puritan code for women to receive an education, Bradstreet’s father, Thomas Dudley, loved his daughter dearly and made sure that she was well educated which shows in her works. Anne Bradstreet’s literature became well known only because her family published her works under a male name. This was done because writing poetry was a serious offense to the puritans since poetry was considered creative and the only creating that was done was by God. In the works of Anne Bradstreet, she conveys a feminist attitude, and could very well be one of the first American Feminists.

Bradstreet was very religious, and the religion she faithfully followed was very male dominant. Perhaps this is why Bradstreet never had a strong voice. Surely if she were to have voiced her opinions loudly and strongly she would have suffered dire consequences. Anne Hutchinson was banished because she publicly voiced her objections to the code of puritan lifestyle and beliefs. Living in a harsh puritan society most likely intimidated Bradstreet, so instead, she carefully weaved her early feminist thought into her poems and stories so that they weren’t too apparent. For example, in
”The Prologue,” Bradstreet conveys knowledge of recognizing the kind of patriarchy she lives in, in the fifth and sixth stanza.

I am obnoxious to each carping tongue/ Who says my hand a needle better fits,/ A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong,/ For such despite they cast of female wits:/ If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,/ They’ll say it’s stol’n, or else it was by chance. (239)

In addition, in this quote, Bradstreet acknowledges that even if her writing skills are extraordinary, that because she is a woman, no one will accept it or believe it.

In addition, Bradstreet expressed a need for equality. She wanted people to take a step back and glimpse back to history, “Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are;” (240). In Greece, women were equal among men, as were the Gods and Goddesses. In the seventh stanza of “The Prologue,” Bradstreet gives her most strong cry out for recognition, still however, it is subtle, “Men have precedeny and still excel,/ It is but vain unjustly to wage war;/men can do best, and women know it well/ Preeminence in all and each is yours;/ Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours” (240). Also in this quote is Bradstreet’s observance of men in their natural state. She sees men as war hungry, vain and powerful. Consequently, Anne Bradstreet faced a double bind. If she voiced her thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, she would have put herself in danger, and by...

Find Another Essay On Anne Bradstreet as First American Feminist

Anne Bradstreet's Contribution to American Literature

1137 words - 5 pages spiritual. Bradstreet’s thoughts and feelings transcend time by conveying a common humanity. For the first time in American literature, the reader can see through the eyes of the author, and feel what the author feels. Bradstreet showed all future American writers the beauty of writing as means of self expression. This is why Anne Bradstreet’s single greatest literary contribution is her use of personal content. Works Cited Bradstreet, Anne

Anne Bradstreet Biography Essay

742 words - 3 pages Anne Bradstreet was the first American poetess of British origin. She was the first female writer whose poems were published in newly colonized America. Her father, Thomas Dudley, in England worked as steward of Earl of Lincoln. In 1628 Anne married Simon Bradstreet. In 1630 both families moved to America on the ship "Arabella". Voyage lasted for three months. In the New World, her father became governor of Massachusetts Colony, and was

Importance of Early American Women Writers

2222 words - 9 pages households without the modern conveniences of today and in some way made time to write the first poetry of the "New World." For example, Everette Emerson gives a picture of Anne Bradstreet a housewife who stole hours from sleep for writing gave women American writers their start (4). Different styles of writing emerged from various early American women writers in each century, there by setting a precedent for those that followed. Anne Bradstreet, Phillis

American Authors: Building Character One Sentence at a Time

1674 words - 7 pages . Anne Bradstreet faced a tough life, too. She had a good education thanks to her father, Thomas Dudley. Thomas had a massive library where Anne read from. Bradstreet also strived to giver her children an education. Because of her education, Anne picked up writing as a hobby. She wrote more often when her husband, Governor Simon Bradstreet, was away on business trips. She abide by the Puritan ideas. Anne was particularly close with her religion and

Anne Bradstreet, The Heretical Poet.

2033 words - 8 pages The purpose of this research is to discuss heretical elements in the poetry of Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672). This is not to imply that Bradstreet was a heretic in the sense that American religious reformer Anne Hutchinson was. Hutchinson (1591-1643) emigrated to Boston in 1634 and preached a doctrine of salvation through intuitive apprehension of grace rather than by works, and attacked the rigid moral and legal codes of New England Puritanism

Anne Bradstreet and Ralph Waldo Emerson

644 words - 3 pages The first biography of an author is Anne Bradstreet. Anne Bradstreet lived during the Puritan times in the early 17th century. She was born and raised by the Dudley family in Northampton, England. When she was sixteen years old, she married Simon Bradstreet that he had been taken care of Dudley family since his father passed away. She was an adult when she and her family came to the America. Her family journeyed to America for the

The Author to her Book: An Annotation of Bradstreet

1779 words - 7 pages glimpse of the emotions felt by Anne Bradstreet an American female poet, and how it conflicts with the puritan society that frowns upon her appreciation of her talents and role as a poet. To clearly see all aspects that surround the interpretation of her poetry it is necessary to look at biographical information surrounding the life of Anne Bradstreet. Background knowledge gained previous to writing this annotation can be found at http

"To My Dear and Loving Husband"

1188 words - 5 pages , romantic language has not only been used to express human emotions but also the role of these emotions in the culture of the times. There have been numerous authors who dared to go beyond what their society would have viewed as politically or morally correct. Anne Bradstreet is one of these authors; however she intended some of her poetry to remain private. One example of such a poem is her poem entitled, To my Dear and Loving Husband. In this poem

Critical analysis of anne bradstreet's Prologue

1212 words - 5 pages is not referencing or eliciting praise from God, but from critics and other contemporaries, who judge her as a woman (her physical body, not her soul). The "Prologue" conveys the frustration that, while in the eyes of God, Bradstreet may be equal to men, her poetry will never be like that of "a Bartas" (a poet admired by the Puritans), a man, who is allowed to write the poetry of "wars, of captains, and of kings" (1). Much of Anne Bradstreet's

Reconciling Sexuality with Spirituality

1697 words - 7 pages how Bradstreet relates to religion in a sexual manner. Anne Bradstreet conflates sexual feeling with her personal religious devotion. First there is, of course, the constant personification of God as a man. But more than that, she also participates in the same Romantic language when talking about God, reveling in the sublimity of her religion like she expressed toward nature. In “Contemplations” she describes her desire to “magnify” the

This essay explores how different people cope with the world they live in.

508 words - 2 pages Everyone develops their own way of coping with or explaining the world they live in. The Navajo Origin Legend, Journal of the First Voyage to America, and To My Dear and Loving Husband are all examples of how different people dealt with and made sense of their surroundings. In order to cope with their world, Native Americans told myths, Christopher Columbus compared his discoveries to what he was familiar with, and Anne Bradstreet wrote

Similar Essays

Anne Bradstreet Feminine But Feminist

671 words - 3 pages As a female in a highly patriarchal society, Anne Bradstreet uses the reverse psychology technique to prove the point of her belief of unfair and unequal treatment of women in her community. Women who wrote stepped outside their appropriate sphere, and those who actually published their work frequently faced social censure. Compounding this social pressure, many women faced crushing workloads and struggled with lack of leisure for writing

Pacified Progressivism Essay

986 words - 4 pages Anne Bradstreet is often praised as being one of the first feminist voices in colonial America which, perhaps, is misleading. Her poetry adhered to the standard themes and styles of her male contemporaries, glorifying male-dominated society and never questioning the authority of the men that controlled her life both personally and spiritually. She was content to be the property of her father, husband, and Puritan society as a whole. However

Anne Brandstreet And Female Identity Essay

537 words - 2 pages There are not many “major” female writers in American Literature, and writing, traditionally, has always been viewed as a masculine activity. It is therefore very interesting, and even ironic, that the first author published in the newly established Puritan society on the American soil, Anne Bradstreet, was a female. Indeed, Bradstreet's poems are filled with female presence. However, I also sense that Bradstreet’s feminism is held in

Anne Bradstreet Essay

781 words - 3 pages Anne Bradstreet Anne Bradstreet was America's first noteworthy poet in spite of the fact that she was a woman. Both the daughter and wife of Massachusetts governors, Bradstreet suffered all of the hardships of colonial life, was a mother, and still found time to write. Her poem, "The Author to Her Book," is an example of Bradstreet's excellent use of literary techniques while expressing genuine emotion and using domestic subject matter