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Anne Bradstreet's Contribution To American Literature

1137 words - 5 pages

Up until the early 17th century, American literature was chiefly about politics, religion, and recorded events. These writings were very dry and lacked insight into the everyday lives of the authors. To put into writing any individual spiritual reflections that strayed away from the religion of the colony could be dangerous at that time; possibly resulting in banishment from the colony or worse. Likewise, any writing that did not serve at least one of the purposes listed above was considered to be a waste of time that would be better spent praising God. Anne Bradstreet defied the rules of her time by writing about whatever she wanted including personal thoughts, reflections, emotions, and events. Bradstreet was the first to write about personal matters, which is her greatest literary contribution in early American literature.
By reading Bradstreet’s work, a fair sense of what Mrs. Bradstreet was like can be grasped. She clearly stated her opinion of those who objected to her writing: “I am obnoxious to each carping tongue, / Who says my hand a needle better fits.” (Bradstreet,“ The Prologue”155). Bradstreet refused to give up her passion for writing even if it meant going against the opinions of anyone in her colony, including religious leaders. Although Bradstreet referred to herself as being obnoxious, her written works portray an entirely different Bradstreet. She seeks no reward or fame for her writing: “Give thyme or parsley wreath, I ask no bays” (155). Bradstreet seeks no reward for her writing because she doesn’t think her work is very good: “My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings” (154). She refers to her writing as her: “ill-formed offspring” (“The Author To Her Book”165). Even after her work is published she is not satisfied with her writing abilities: “Thy blemishes amend, if so I could: / I washed thy face, but more defects I saw” (165). Bradstreet’s humble nature can be seen throughout her works: “If any worth or virtue were in me, / Let that live freshly in your memory” (“Before The Birth Of One Of Her Children” 166).
Bradstreet wrote extensively about her family. Her writings about her husband in particular were somewhat scandalous for that time. Bradstreet pours her heart into all of her works, but the poems about her husband really stand as a permanent testament to the depth of her love for him: “My love is such that rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense” ( “To My Dear And Loving Husband” 166). Bradstreet even goes as far as comparing her husband to the sun: “My Sun . . . His warmth such frigid cold did cause to melt” ( “A Letter To Her Husband Absent Upon Public Employment” 167). Bradstreet’s deep love for her children is also evident in her writings. She writes about raising and caring for her children: “Great was my pain when I you bred, great was my care when you I fed” (“In Reference To Her Children” 169). She writes of her fears for her children: “Let others know what are my fears...

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