Literary Analysis Essay of Anne Bradstreet’s ‘To My Dear and Loving Husband’
The poem ‘To My Dear Loving Husband’ is one of the famous pieces of Anne Bradstreet. Considered as America’s first published poet, Bradstreet allows readers to appreciate the role of women in the 17th century. Written in iambic pentameter and lines that rhyme with one another in the end, the poem is able to highlight the passion and love by the wife to her husband. By carefully piecing together the information presented, readers are able to capture the depth and intensity felt by the speaker of the poem.
Examining the poem closely, the most apparent theme promoted by Bradstreet is the description of love. Specifically, the different lines in the poem depict the reasons as to why the speaker loves her husband. From this vantage point, readers are able to comprehend the depth of feelings by the wife. For instance, Bradstreet provides that “I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold” (1) depicts how passionate the woman experiences with the man. Putting these within the context of the period, Bradstreet continues to promote the idea of how women should stand by their husbands. It is their role not only to take care of the household but also provide a nurturing and loving relationship with their significant other (Gordon 1). By highlighting these areas in the poem, the speaker is able to profess the love felt for the husband.
Another important theme worth examining is how the poem portrays the ideal marriage. It seeks to show the relationship that should exist between man and woman. It remains to be a union between two individuals who share a common love for each other. Marriage is depicted by Bradstreet as something valuable and essential in strengthening the love between couples. The last two lines of the poem provide a good emphasis on this part. Bradstreet provides that “Then while we live, in love let’s so persever[e] | That when we live no more, we may live ever” (1). By seeking to emphasize on how marriage can sustain the commitment and love for one another, the speaker of the poem is able to validate her points in the poem.
The poem can also be analyzed on the religious connection of the speaker. Looking closely, readers are able to recognize that the speaker of the poem remains to be spiritual and realizes the importance of God, especially in describing the love and relationship with the husband (Warn 1). From the context of Bradstreet’s background, this part gives emphasis to her Puritan background. For example, Bradstreet mentions that “The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray” (1). This particular line seeks to show that amidst the love the speaker feels for her husband, the wife recognizes how God remains to be instrumental in helping further strengthen the love and relationship with one another.
The use of figures of speech is also evident in the Bradstreet’s poem. The most evident is of course the exaggeration of lines to show how much she loves her husband. Arguably, the speaker utilizes this approach to emphasize an important point. The use of hyperbole can be seen in the lines where the speaker is trying to highlight her emotions to the husband. For instance, Bradstreet mentions this in the line, “My love is such that Rivers cannot quench” (1). By utilizing this approach, Bradstreet is able to condition readers about her passion and fervor felt to the husband.
Overall, Anne Bradstreet’s ‘To My Dear and Loving Husband’ is a wonderful piece that depicts not only the love of a wife to her husband but also the social realities that the author is facing during the period. By highlighting themes related to love and marriage, Bradstreet is able to provide an example of how a woman thinks during her time. It emphasizes that love remains to be a significant component to make relationships last and it is through this commitment and religious connection that couples can thrive.
Bradstreet, Anne. ‘To My Dear and Loving Husband’ Poets.org.n.d. Web. Accessed 11 August 2014.
Gordon, Charlotte. ‘If Ever Two Were One’: Anne Bradstreet’s ‘To My Dear and Loving Husband’ The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 2011. Web. Accessed 11 August 2014.
Warn, Emily. ‘Anne Bradstreet: ‘To My Dear and Loving Husband’’ Poetry Foundation.org. n.d. Web. Accessed 11 August 2014.