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Anne Bradstreet being the first female American poet expresses internal conflict in her poetic work. Born in England, she moved into a whole new world in America. She lived in strict puritanism and colonial England. Living in this two different worlds made her a woman of contrasts because of a different lifestyle. She expresses self-conflict regarding her work shortfalls and merit. Anne Bradstreet expresses internal conflict citing her strong connection to Puritan belief. The conflict arises from interpretation and understanding of Holy Scriptures. Anne does not concur with the notion of miracles because of her miracles as per the Holy Scriptures did not happen but instead looks artificial. Anne only validates puritan belief through what she sees exists such as day and night but not through the lens of theology. Although Anne Bradstreet comes from a Puritan family, she struggles to agree with the reality on matters faith. She lives a plastic life to please her father and brother-in-law who are staunch Christians. In fact, she does not seek to live in the future but instead seeks to address the present day life.
Anne Bradstreet poetic work on prologue reveals the internal disagreement regarding her poetic skill. She compares her poetic skills to the great Guillaume DuBartas, a poet and French historian on Christianity but she feels it is right to consider personal achievement rather than try to be equal to those who have made it (Bradstreet, p.15). Anne expresses a dissatisfaction concerning male and female inequities. She feels nature make men and women permanently different. Alluding the success Demosthenes, a great orator of that time, she feels it is difficult to heal a wounded or weak brain. However, she shows resilience and commitment towards poetry to overcome the demeaning statements of her rivals who think her poetic skill is misplaced. As much as she struggles to overcome the critiques, she is confident that her furnished work will not be appreciated since it will be taken as stolen or accidental work.
Bradstreet also reveals the patriarchal nature of ancient Greek, where women rights were not recognized. Bradstreet feels it is worthwhile to value the work of women to express themselves. It is a show of humility and change of attitude towards women in poetry. However, the lamentation of Bradstreet concerning own work as stolen or accidental reveals that she was unhappy with her work. More so, she alludes own work to great male poetics revealing submissive nature of women in the context of tradition.
The wish of every puritan mother is to uphold moral decency among her children. Bradstreet hopes for a strong spiritual family that can learn through her experience when she was alive. However, her greatest wish is difficult to accomplish because a dead person is forgotten and cannot account whether her wishes became a reality. It is paradoxical for Puritans to seek for grace at the same time live a life of depravity. Living a holy life is believed to lead one in heaven as well as receive God's grace. Bradstreet is the character of good Christian who feels her family should follow her moral dignity and God's teaching to live a decent life (Bradstreet, p.7). It is an internal struggle between puritan self, saved side, redeemed side and dirty side. Additionally, being a woman in puritan society, Bradstreet does not agree with the idea of male dominance. It is an internal struggle to come to terms with female submissive nature. The strict Puritan beliefs subdued the rights of women as well as did not recognize their presence in society. The struggle for recognition and social success creates a self-conflict on the part of Anne Bradstreet.
Bradstreet, Anne. "The prologue." The Works of Anne Bradstreet (2012): 15-17.
Bradstreet, Anne. "To My Dear Children." The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature (1967): 230.
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