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A More Human Look at the Puritans and Their Life: Anne Bradstreet Poems

“A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment” pg. 77

  1. Line 1: Here she describes her husband. What does she mean that he is “nay, more”? Notice how the word changes the iambic meter of the line and discuss what this change might mean/why it is used.

  2. Line 2: Notice that she says that her husband is the “magazine” (place of where goods are stored) of “earthly goods.” Why “earthly”? Why not “spiritual”? “Emotional,” etc?

  3. Line 7 and beyond: Why does she compare herself to earth? What sort of deeper metaphor might she be using to describe herself/her role in the relationship?

  4. Line 8 and beyond: Why does she compare her husband to the sun? What sort of deeper metaphor might she be using to describe him/his role in the relationship?

  5. Line 24: This Biblical reference was a typical part of marriage ceremonies. Why does she use it here? How does it impact the meaning of the poem?

“The Author to her Book” pg. 76

  1. Read footnote four!

  2. What long metaphor (also known as a “conceit”) does Bradstreen use throughout the entire poem to describe her poem? Why does she do this and what effect does it produce?

  3. Pick one image that Bradstreet creates through the poem: what sort of mood/image does he produce what diction choice does she use to do so?

  4. What is the tone (author’s feeling) of this text? What words help you see this tone?

  5. What is the mood (feeling produced in reader) of this text? What words help produce this mood?

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” pg. 77

  1. Lines 1-3: Here, Bradstreet uses an anaphora (look that up if you need to!). Why does she do that in the poem and what effect does it produce?

  2. Line 4: Why might she invite other women to “compare with her”? What mood is produced here?

  3. Line 7: To quench means “to put out, as a fire; to satisfy a thirst; to suppress, inhibit”. What does this image suggest about her feelings for him?

  4. Line 8: To recompense means “to compensate, pay for, return in kind/ repay.” Consider how these three meanings might change the meaning of the line and discuss which meaning she might mean. Also note that this word does not fit the rhyme scheme. What effect does that have?

  5. Line 12: Discuss the paradox she uses here and discuss any ties to Puritan beliefs. Also note that there is an extra syllable snuck in here – how does that effect the meaning of the line?

Notes on Meanings/Commonalities/Ways in which she makes Puritans seem more “real:”

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