Writing Assignment #2 –
Instructions: Answer the following questions in at least 200 words total.
It’s been suggested often that there are at least two voices in many of Anne Bradstreet’s poems. These two voices are often in harmony, although sometimes they can be in contradiction with one another. One of these voices, whom you might call “Miss Bradstreet,” is the poet-voice who speaks as she ought, in full accord with religious doctrine, public duty, and conventional belief. The other voice, “Anne,” is the woman who loves, grieves, fears, feels pride, and experiences the full range of emotions and curiosities that the teachings of her faith were supposed to put to rest. In the drama of her poems, sometimes one side of her seems to win out over the other; sometimes a reassuring harmony is reached and sometimes not.
Part I. Look over the Bradstreet poems assigned for this week, and ask yourself which of them, in their titles, seem to suggest one voice or the other? List the poem titles here and beside each title put either “Miss Bradstreet” or “Anne” or “both”.
Part II. Then, once you’ve read the poems, do you find any surprises–discontinuities between the voice that seems implicit in the title and the voice or voices that emerge in the actual poem? List each of the poem titles again here, and then comment on what surprises you found in the poem about the voice. Was it the same voice in the poem as you thought would be there based on the title alone? Did a different voice emerge in the poem? Explain your thoughts for each poem.
Important – The goal here is to explore when Bradstreet is “conforming” to her Puritan culture by being “Miss Bradstreet” — a good, pious woman, and when her own individuality as a woman who struggles, fears, loves very deeply as “Anne” creeps through her poetry. The reason why exploring these two voices in her poetry is important is because her poetry shows how her public persona and what thoughts and fears she had inside herself were not always the same. This is very human of her. Keep in mind that she lived a very long time ago. Her rights as an individual were not what they would have been today. The fact that she even lets the voice of “Anne” seep through her poetry is revolutionary and very forward thinking for her time period.