The value of earthly treasures versus eternal treasures is a key theme in Anne Bradstreet’s “Upon the Burning of Our House.” Throughout the poem, Bradstreet uses the following three examples to discover her feelings about losing her earthly treasures in the house fire and moving toward eternal treasures: her earthly possessions, her position in society, and her ultimate choice to focus on eternity. Anne Bradstreet is a woman who was the first English colonial poet. while she resided in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. She wrote this poem around July of 1666 to describe the event of her home burning to the ground. Bradstreet creates a deeper meaning in her poem through her discussion of earthly value versus eternal value and how she discovers the importance of eternal value through the loss of her earthly possessions.
In the poems “To My Dear and Loving Husband” and “Upon the Burning of Our House” the author Anne Bradstreet allows the reader a glimpse of what she values. The two poems are alike because they both explore her religion and show her love for God. In these two poems they let you get a glimpse of the way she looked at things and saw the good side of everything. For example, in “ To My Dear and Loving Husband” it says “ if ever a man were loved by wife, then thee; if ever wife was happy in man,”.
In this essay, I will analyze the poem Verses Upon the Burning of Our House (July 10th, 1666) by Anne Bradstreet, a puritan who most critics consider to be America’s first “authentic poet. The poem is based on a true story as Anne’s house really did burn down and illustrates her meditations on this event, the pain she felt after losing her home and the effect it had on her faith. The main theme is Anne’s struggle to not become attached to material things.
Anne Bradstreet’s poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” was written between the years of 1641 and 1643. “Not until the year 1678, six years after Bradstreet’s death, the poem was published” (Ruby 228). A poet with Puritan beliefs, this poem uses the religious language, hyperbolic metaphors, paradox, and antiquated diction and style in order to explain the devotion and love for her husband as she struggles with the Puritan way of life along with the uncertainty of her reassurance of love. Reading this poem over and over for countless hours I came to the conclusion that there are two messages that Bradstreet was trying to project in this poem, the Literal way and the sarcastic way. The Literal way clearly shows the readers the love of a wife for her husband.
At the end though she still believes that the child is in good hands of God, in belief that it happened for a reason. Finally, in the third poem, her grandson dies. She throws questions more toward God on why he would remove her loved one from this earth so soon. Bradstreet is merely in depression, yet she finds courage at the end and believes that something good will be coming their way after the loss.
Theses writings were for personal use and despite their wishes were eventually published. Because of this, their writings showed true emotion and not that for entertainment or religious persuasion. Once released to the public their experiences were valued and passed on for generations to come. There was many simulates in the works of Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson’s describing signs from God to appreciate the nature, family and most importunely to put God first. Because of these signs and resulting tragedies, Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson had a very positive outlook on life and inspired many to follow and appreciate the simple things in life.
In about 1640, Bradstreet focused her poems primarily in piety, as shown in “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” and courage, as shown in “Upon
Anne Bradstreet through several of her poems does not show true Puritan beliefs. In “Verses Upon the Burning of our House”, Bradstreet is caught in the internal conflict between her faith and accepting the loss of her earthly possessions. She used personification to state that her heart “cried” to God not to leave her helpless but it delivers the idea that she only prays to him when she is in need (8). All the luxuries that Puritans have are given by God’s grace and belong to him. Anne is a materialistic person because she says, “When by the ruins oft I past, my sorrowing eyes aside did cast, and here and there the places spy, where oft I sate and long did lie” (21), thus she is still sorrowing about losing her things even though she knows
Bradstreet and Edwards are both very famous authors, and have very famous poetry. Though Bradstreet and Edwards are similar their writing is very different. One of Anne Bradstreet's famous poems is “upon the burning of our house” in this poem she is writing about her tragic loss of her home and all her belongings. Unlike Edwards, Bradstreet is very calm and
She did not write the poems with illusions and metaphors. Instead, she wrote in the classic Puritan style. When she talks about the fire “consuming my dwelling place,” she literally means that she saw the flames engulfing her home. Clearly, Anne Bradstreet’s poem fit the Puritan poetry characteristic of having no symbolism or metaphors. It was very straight forward.
Bradstreet knows the goodness in God and rather than fearing him she thanks Him or asks for help. While her house was burning she asked God “to strengthen [her] in [her] time of distress”(9) because she knows everything that happens is through the will of God and only He can help her through this difficult situation. Bradstreet sees God as a just one even though he took all of her physical possessions. She takes His justness a step further by saying in lines 18 and 19 that even if He took all of her belongings, it would still be reasonable. Bradstreet also believes in a positive afterlife for herself and most people around her.
She talks about how incredible the heavens must be if he could do such wonderful things here on the earth. I believe that is how Bradstreet believes it should be, based on her puritan background. According to puritan values, you should look to God’s word for everything knowing you will one day get to be with him forever. She also knew it wasn’t always the case in a world where, through Adam and Eve, sin was born. The next seven stanzas are dedicated to Cain, Adam and Eve’s son, who “With sullen hateful looks he goes his ways.”
Furthermore, by using end rhyme, Bradstreet symbolically shows restraint. In the same way that a poet controls oneself by specifically using end rhyme, the poet is controlling her emotions when dealing with a sad experience and accepts her mortality. Similarly, in “Verses Upon the Burning of our House,” proof of Bradstreet’s faith is indisputable. After being initially distraught at her house burning down and losing all of her belongings, Bradstreet recounts how she reorients herself and blesses “His name that gave and took,
In line one she says “if ever two were one, then surely we.” The amount of love they have for each other allows this idea that together they are one person rather than two. Bradstreet alludes to the bible which says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2.24). By comparing the two quotes we realize that Bradstreet gets a sense of completion with her husband, which makes her feel like they are one person. When she tells about their love she says that “[Her] love is such that river cannot quench.”
Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson, two women who had strong religious beliefs. Their strong religious beliefs made them to survive the struggles that they endured in their lives. Anne Bradstreet struggled with her faith and her acceptance as a writer in Puritan society. Mary Rowlandson struggled in captivity where she was taken hostage with her ailing daughter by the Indians.