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Anne Bradstreet

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Anne Bradstreet was an amazing woman with an overwhelmingly large heart. Her love, devotion, and loyalty to her husband, parents (especially her father), children, friends, and most importantly, God were truly inspiring beyond words. Anne was a woman of wealth growing up in England, but she gave up the riches, along with her husband and family, to move to America and serve God with them (Issue # 23). They wanted to be the model family in America. Because of the family wealth, Anne had an excellent education starting at a very young age. At age seven, she had tutors, learning Greek, Latin, French, and Hebrew, along with English. She loved to learn and therefore became a very well educated woman. Anne married at the age of sixteen to Simon Bradstreet, whom she was very much in love with. Her husband was a very busy man due to his job in the government business. (Both he and her father were in the same business.) Alone, while her husband was gone for work, she was left at home to tend to all the housework and to take care of their eight children. When Anne had free time from these chores, she began writing poetry, much about Simon and how she missed him while he was away on business trips (Issue #23). In this time period, women weren't allowed to play a significant role in everyday life, except in the household; women had no rights back then as opposed to the rights they have now. A woman wasn't allowed to speak out, and, if so, they would be condemned. Anne became dependent upon her poetry as a time for her to open up her heart and pour herself out on the paper. She liked having the memories too to look back at. Her poetry, I believe, can

move anyone to get a feeling of just the type of person Anne was. When writing, she left the outer world and went into her own space to open up. She had no distractions, and no one was there to criticize the things that she was feeling or what she had to say. She talked about her different struggles, the things on her mind, her family, her friends, and just about her life in general, the good and the bad. Anne is considered to be the first American poet by many people (General Information of Anne Bradstreet). Though Anne had struggles through life, she told her life stories through her poetry.

Anne was the love and highlight of her parents' eyes. They were both very proud of her interest in learning so they did their best to provide her well with the education she deserved. She probably had access to the earl's library, due to her father's job as the chief steward of Theophilus Clinton, the Puritan Earl of Lincoln (Literature: Classic). Anne's father encouraged her education in history because it was his love (Literature: Classic). Her father had a close relationship with God also, and with the influence and encouragement for Anne, she followed the same footsteps in putting great trust in the Lord also. In Anne's poem "To the Memory of My Dear and Ever Honored Father Thomas Dudley", she said, "Who was my father, guide, instructor too", referring to the impact her father had in her life (Baym 251). Anne wrote epitaphs for both of her parents, showing her love and also using them as models of the male and female behaviors. When Anne's mother passed away, she wrote, "A loving mother and obedient wife, A friendly neighbor, pitiful to poor, Whom oft she fed, and clothed with her store" (Woodlief). Dorothy, Anne's mother, was kind-hearted and opened her door to anyone. Anne said she was a loving mother and a good wife to her husband. Anne said, "Religious in all her words and ways, Preparing still for death, till end of days" (Woodlief). Not only did Anne's father have the great

relationship with God, but her mother was just the same. When her father passed, she wrote, "In manners pleasant and severe The good him loved, the bad did fear, And when his time with years was spent In some rejoiced, more did lament (Woodlief). She was saying most everyone loved and enjoyed her father's company. Though the bad people feared such a Godly man, the good ones looked to him as their role model. When Anne's father passed, some might have been happy, but others were at a loss because of such a remarkable man. Anne was part of an influential well-to-do family that encouraged her writing and circulated it in manuscript with pride. They supported her work and encouraged her in taking it publicly. Her brother-in-law took Anne's collection to London to publish it secretly. With the added support from others, it helped counteract possibilities of disapproval of Anne in the public (Cowell).

Mrs. Bradstreet was a very loving and loyal wife to her husband. She treasured everything about him and enjoyed every moment with him. When they were separated from each other, Anne was counting the time until they were back together. In "To My Dear and Loving Husband", she wrote, "His presence and return still woos, With thousand doleful sighs and mournful coos" (Baym 265). When saying this, Anne was speaking of his soon and hopeful return and that she was sad and empty without him there with her. She tells of their special love with, "If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee; If ever wife was happy in a man, compare with me, ye woman, if you can" (Baym 263). This type of love she describes is the type of love, which everyone hopes for, and she proves that she and her husband had just that. Many of Anne's poems are strictly focused on her husband and go very deep into her emotional state. When Simon was gone for business, she would speak about how great her love for him was as she was missing him, waiting for the return. In "A Letter to Her

Husband, Absent upon Public Employment", she said, "If two were one, as surely thou and I, How stayest thou there, whilst I at Ipswich lie?" (Baym 264) When Anne said this, she felt that with the love she and her husband shared there shouldn't be separation between the two. She couldn't understand why she had to lie there alone without him next to her, making her question their love. Many of these poems were a way for her to again focus on God and His plan and love for her.

Anne had eight children, which she loved very much. Her children's names were: Samuel, Dorthy, Sarah, Simon Jr., Dudley, Hannah, John, and Mercy. At the start of Anne and Simon's marriage, Anne was very sad about not having children and with prayer, God granted her wish, blessing her with her wonderful eight children. Anne wrote many poems about her children, her hopes and dreams for each. In "Upon my Daughter Hannah Her Recovery from a Dangerous Fever", she said, "When death did seem ev'n to



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