Friday, July 13, 2012

An Analysis Of Anne Bradstreet's "To My Loving Husband"

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An extremely important part of the American identity is the Puritans. They sought to be simple, yet religiously and morally strict. Though defying several Puritan beliefs Anne Bradstreet shows her great love for her husband through the uses of imagery, poetic devices, and symbolism.


We can see from the poem the strong feelings Anne has for her husband. In the poem, she shows her devotion to her husband in a smooth and simple manner through imagery. Over and over again she expresses her devotion to him with a repetition of images. One such image is presented in lines 5-7. She states “I prize my love more than whole mines of gold or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that rivers cannot quench…” She states here that she would accept nothing in return for the love that she shares with her husband and that nothing could destroy it. Also in line 1, we can see the togetherness Anne and her husband share as she says the two of them are one. Physically, this is paradox. No two people can be united as one. But spiritually, the two complete each other’s life so that, in marriage, they are one.


Anne Bradstreet uses a lot of poetic devices in the poem. Throughout lines 1-, Bradstreet gives their relationship as an example to others with phrases like “If ever two were one,” “If ever one were loved by wife,” and “If ever wife was happy in a man.” In lines 1 and , we see two sound examples of alliteration. The “w” sound is repeated in the phrases “two were one” and “ever wife was.” In line 4, she seems boastful of her relationship (not very puritan-like). In lines 5-7, some may view as a hyperbole. In lines 7 and 8 the rhyme is not exact, like all the other lines. In line , there is an example of synaesthesia; there is no way to purchase or pay for true love. In line 11, when the author says, “while we live, in love let’s so persevere,” we see alliteration of the “w” sounds, alliteration and consonance of the “l” sounds, and alliteration and consonance of the “s” sounds. This allows for the words to flow well. Lines 11 and 1 contain pauses in the middle of the line making the statement more emotional. These pauses are called caesura? Other than poetic devices, words like “thee”, “ye”, “thy”, and “doth” tell us that the poem was written in a 17th century, old-English style.


Last but not least, symbolism. In the th line, she says that his love for her can in no way be repaid. This can be seen as a symbol of how great her love is. In line 10, metonomy is seen with “heavens”. When she speaks of the heavens repaying him, heaven is symbolic of God or life. Finally, in line 1 “Then when we live no more, we may live ever,” she symbolizes that their love is eternal and after they die, they shall continue loving one another. One puritan belief is that one should not become too emotionally attached to anything. Throughout the poem, we can see that Bradstreet is attached to her husband. In line 4 she calls out to other women in a bragging manner, “Compare with me…if you can.” But she later redeems herself in the last three lines. Here she prays to the heaven and speaks of the Puritan life. Maybe all of these symbolize that her love for her husband is greater than her love for God, and that God still remains in her life.


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In conclusion, we can plainly see the great love Anne Bradstreet had for her husband; She expresses this through imagery, symbolism, and many other poetic devices. It is left to opinion whether or not she reflected the Puritan lifestyle, but one thing is for sure Anne Bradstreet had a love for her husband that could not be matched by anything on this world.





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