Anne Bradstreet Femininity Analysis

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Anne Bradstreet and Femininity
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, femininity can be defined as “Behaviour or qualities regarded as characteristic of a woman; feminine quality or characteristics; womanliness.” (OED) In today’s society, the concept of femininity takes on many different roles and forms. You can find women in more traditional roles such as mothers and teachers to non- traditional roles such as lawyers, doctors and construction workers. The concept of femininity can be related to a person today regardless of a person’s physical sex. However, during the Puritan’s colonization in America, a woman’s characteristics were not as fluid as they are today. Anne Bradstreet broke many of glass ceilings for women. She was the first
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Thus when the Tenth Muse was published, Bradstreet did not know how to respond in a socially acceptable way, so she wrote a poem in 1678 titled The Author to Her book. In the poem, she addresses the book as the offspring of her feeble brain. She uses the term feeble 1to elaborate on her position in society as a woman. The unanswered question is this: is Bradstreet saying this because she believes her work is no good, saying it to cover her tracks as she is treading new ground, or is it meant as satire to say that the poetry wasn’t meant to be judged by anyone other than herself? She proceeds further in this poem by saying she wishes she could fix the book because she views it as a rambling child with many flaws. She would smooth out the lines and make her poem flow better and make it something she could be proud of. She wishes she could prover herself as an author, which she does by publishing other works such as this after the Tenth Muse. Another one of her works she wrote in 1678 is titled To My Dear, Loving Husband. This poem is dedicated to her husband and shows that she is a good Puritan. She begins the poem with the line “If ever” and repeats it three times. This is a technique known as anaphora. This sets up the rest of the poem to answer her call. If ever two people were happy and in love, it was Anne Bradstreet and her husband. She acknowledges the Christian belief …show more content…
The Prologue begins by establishing Bradstreet’s attempt to differentiate herself from other poets. She states that she isn’t a poet that addresses a muse, as typical poets in history have, but she chooses to write obscure lines. She goes on to say “A Bartas can do what a Bartas will But simple I according to my skill,” (11-12). The literal interpretation of this line is that Anne is incapable of doing any work with much purpose simply because she was born a woman, and not a man. It is true that men and women play different roles in her society. Women in the puritan society could fulfill a number of different roles. However, only men could be elected as community leaders, wage wars and be ministers. Women took on roles such as basic farming and caring for their husbands. As mothers, they were responsible for producing and teaching the next generation of Puritan children. These were the roles that were expected in society and no one bent the rules. Anne states it best, “It is but vain unjustly to wage war Men can do best, and Women know it well Preeminence in all and each is yours Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours,” (The Prologue, 39-42) both genders are different, just as men wage wars and women acknowledge their differences. However, Bradstreet takes a risk here by stating in her last two lines that these differences make men and women

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