Historical Criticism of Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) “To My Dear and

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HistoricalCriticism of Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) “To My Dear and LovingHusband”

Differentgenres and types of literature such as poetry, drama, non-fiction,novels and comedy among others play an important role. It helpspeople pass and retrieve messages that touch either on the economic,social or political interests. Literature, hence, has helped toempower the society due to the diverse approaches and methods thatpeople or institutions can use to communicate and pass theinformation correctly. Poetry, in particular, is among the oldestliteral elements that have been used since the ancient times to thepresent. However, this paper analyses how historical criticismapproach depicts the strengths and competencies in the poem byBradstreet (1612-1672) titled “To My Dear and Loving Husband.”

Historyplays an important role that enables us to understand the past andreasons different events happened, the impact of such events in thepresent times as well as enable us to predict the future as a resultof analyzing the historical events. The title of the work and namehas years indicated that the author lived and times that the poem waswritten, that is, 1612-1672. At the time there were many events thathappened such as civil wars, exploration of the different parts ofthe world and monarchy such as that of King Charles I among others.However, through the poem and written literature context, people wereable to express their views and feelings in different events such asLove and family relationships as noted in the poem by Bradstreet asit was the major form of communication. Advanced communicationdevelopments as noted presently were yet to be developed, hence,poetry and written work expressed the historical approaches anddevelopments used at the time (Vesa, 83).

Thework by Bradstreet also uses words that express the historicalarchaic times and dialects that were used at the time that the poemwas written. For example, words such as “thee, “ye” and “thy”express the common words used at the time in many kinds of literatureincluding the bible among others that were written at the times. Theuse of such words enabled the audience of the poem to understand themeaning easily attributed to the work. Moreover, it also helps andgives a hint to the present generation who read the poem of thepossible times that the poem was written in the event that the yearsthat the poet lived are not expressed. Additionally, the words usedin the poem express the lifestyle and values that people had at thetime. For example the phrase, “I prize thy love more than wholemines of gold” and “Or all the riches that the East doth hold”express the values and lifestyles of the people at the time(Bradstreet, 225). At the time, gold was an important factor that wasused to determine wealth and richness and also for trade. There aremany kinds of literature at the time that analyzes different factorsthat express how gold was a determinant, even in the biblical contextamong others. The second phrase also present the division that wasapparent at the time where the society was divided into the East andWest where most parts of the East possessed enormous wealth asopposed to the West. The language of the poem, hence, can givereaders a hint and lead on the historical events that happened at thetime or the lifestyles of the people and values that they had at thetime.

Thetheme of religion is also expressed in the work of Bradstreet.Historically, at the time that the poem was written, religion playedan important role in the society that shaped many aspects in both thepolitical, economic as well as social field. Many of the religiousleaders at the time had a bigger say in determining and shapingsociety events, hence, people took religion as a very serious aspectof the society. The phrase, “The heavens reward thee manifold, Ipray” shows how religious the people were at the time that theyliked and appreciated in their daily lives including loverelationships (Bradstreet, 225). The theme of love has transcendedgenerations from the past even before the work was done to thepresent and in the future as well, and the work by Bradstreet is noexception. There are numerous phrases in the poem that express loveissues. First, the title of the piece brings the theme of love toreaders. It gives the readers a hint about what the poem talks about. Other words from the work that depict the theme of love includephrases such as “If ever man were loved by wife”, “I prize thylove more than…” and “Thy love is such I can…” amongothers. Historical criticism approach, thus, has placed the work ofBradstreet as worth and appreciated in the piece of poetry thatmerits in the standards of great poems able to show and depictsdifferent themes such as a religion, love, and communication amongothers (Vesa, 82).

Inconclusion, the piece has allowed depiction of historical events thattranspired at the time when it was written. The essence of poems orliteral work is to express the feelings, views and occurrences thathappen in the society, and the work of Bradstreet has done that toperfection. It enables readers to reflect on the key events andvalues that the society had at the time such as determination ofwealth, religious beliefs, communication aspects at the time andlanguage used as well as love among others.


Bradstreet,Anne. “To My Dear and Loving Husband.” AMU, Composition andLiterature, 1642, P 225. Accessed 29 March 2017.

Vesa,Ileana. &quotThe Complementary Poetic Vision of Anne Bradstreet.&quotScientificJournal of Humanistic Studies,vol. 6, no. 10, Mar. 2014, pp. 82-85. EBSCOhost,search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&ampdb=aph&ampAN=95898741&ampsite=ehost-live.