“The Author to Her Book” by Anne Bradstreet
In “The Author to Her Book,” Bradstreet is inundated in indecision and internal struggles over the virtues and shortfalls of her abilities and the book that she produced. As human beings we associate and sympathize with each other through similar experiences. It is difficult to sympathize with someone when you don’t know where they are coming from and don’t know what they are dealing with. Similar experiences and common bonds are what allow us to extend our sincere appreciation and understanding for another human being’s situation. In this poem an elaborate struggle between pride and shame manifests itself through an extended metaphor in which she equates her book to her own child.
"The Author to Her Book" expresses some of the emotions Bradstreet felt when her most intimate thoughts were made know to the world with the publishing of her book. In addition she also relates some of the story as to how her work came to be published. The average person could not relate to the distress Bradstreet feels in this situation. The collection of poetry that she had written expressed her feelings in a way that most women during that time didn’t have the skill to do. Many people would wonder why Bradstreet the publishing of her work would be so distressful when they had brought Bradstreet much personal fame and brought many people enjoyable reading. Therefore, she could not simply write a clear-cut poem to tell how she feels about her stolen thoughts. Only another writer would be able sympathize with Bradstreet in this matter if she didn’t draw some basis for comparison. In order for her readers to be able to feel her pain and joy she had to use a situation in which her readers could comprehend the many emotions she experienced. Many of the women who read her poetry were either already mothers or would one day be mothers. This common bond opened a door for understanding. By
comparing her book to a child, she is able to gain the compassion of her readers and help them appreciate the emotions she is feeling.
In line one she states how she feels about her creation, which she calls an "ill-formed offspring" (line 1) and she gives the book human characteristics throughout the poem to enhance the effect of the conceit. She constantly speaks directly to her work as if it were her own child. Then in line 23 Bradstreet calls herself the "mother" of this work.
Lines two through five move past depicting her as the mother and express how she feels embarrassed that her works were published before she was ready to share them with the world and without her consent. She says that the "child" had been by her side until "snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true" (line 3). Basically she is saying a trusted person “snatched” her work from her without permission to take them to England to be printed. Had it not been for her brother-in-law taking her work back to England and getting them printed they may have never...