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 check by her Puritan values, and there is a conflict created throughout her writing between this society of Puritan patriarchy that she lived in and her identity as a female.

     Bradstreet’s poems are focused on the simple pleasures found in the realities of the present. She rejoices in the presence of nature that she sees surrounding her in “Contemplations”, rather than that in the pleasure of Jesus and her Puritan religion (like Phyllis Wheatley does). Part of the reality for Bradstreet is living as a female in a male-dominated society. Bradstreet embraces this, but at the same time questions the views towards females. Women in Puritan society played a subordinate role in a traditional patriarchal family structure, and were relatively restricted in their opportunities. They were not generally viewed as equals to men, and in “The Prologue”, Bradstreet questions her role, and thus a woman’s role, in writing poetry. At the end of the prologue Bradstreet writes, “Let Greeks be Greeks, and woman what they are; Men have precedency and still excel, It is but vain unjustly to wage war; Men can do best, and women know it well.”

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