Katherine Phillips Poetry And Literature Essay

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During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries many of the medical discoveries we have today were not yet thought about. For this reason, many newborns did not have the immune system to fight off bacteria or viruses and were not able to survive. It was also common for mothers to contract infections from the instruments used while giving birth, which made pregnancy very dangerous as well. Especially in some parts of the New World, societal expectation put a lot of pressure on married women to have multiple children to assist with farm work or other household chores. As a result, for women, childbearing could be a very emotionally demanding process. Many educated women coped with these hardships and stressors of childbearing through writing and literature. Therefore, due to the high infant and maternal mortality rates throughout these centuries, female writers were strongly influenced by these experiences which showed in the stories, poems, and literature they produced.
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Phillips wrote to cope with her emotions just as Mary Shelly however, instead of fictional stories she wrote poetry which was exclusively praised among a private community of writers she belonged to. Also like Shelly, Phillips only had one child survive past infancy. She wrote a poem, On the Death of My First and Dearest Child, Hector Philips, Borne the 23rd of April, and Died the 2nd of May, to describe her emotions on the death of her first child. She wrote in lines five and six, “I did but see him and he disappeared, I did but touch the rosebud, and it fell.” This provides beautiful imagery of how a precious, fragile rosebud fell just as her precious and fragile child passed away. She finished her poem with, “The last of thy unhappy mother’s verse.” In contrast to the imagery Phillip used before, she finished off her poem with a very straightforward verse that tells the reader of her

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