Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor were two deeply religious American writers of different backgrounds. They wrote with devotion to their Christian faith. These two Puritans showed dedication to their families and to their writing. An analysis of Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor’s poetry revealed two noticeable differences: the audience and their views of death. Bradstreet and Taylor wrote with the same purpose. Both accepted God’s will even if it was not to their advantage. They praised God through sickness and in health.
In “To My Dear Children” Bradstreet writes, “Not to set forth myself, but the glory of God” (235). She wants everyone to know that she is a good writer but that she writes to glorify God. In the same poem she writes how even through illness she, “communed with my heart and made my supplications to the most High who set me free from affliction” (235). She makes it clear that she did not blame God for her illness but continued to praise him through her affliction. Bradstreet was often sick through her lifetime and probably through child birth.
In “To My Dear and Loving Husband” she praises the heavens for her husband, “The heavens reward thee manifold” (226). She was thankful for everything God had given to her, especially for the love of her husband. Unlike Bradstreet, Taylor did not suffer from illness, but a few of his children died at infancy. He praised God for taking his children from the suffering they were experiencing. In “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children,” Taylor wrote “In Prayer to Christ perfumed it did ascend” (303).
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He was not angry that his children had died and accepted it as God’s will. He wrote as personal worship. These two writers wrote to preserve the teachings of God but their audiences were different. Bradstreet wrote to her family and children, reaching out to them through her writings. She wanted her children to learn from her mistakes and to be grateful to God just as she was. In “Contemplations” she write how thankful she is for God’s creations, “Admired, adored for ever, be that Majesty” (216).
In “Before the Birth of One of Her Children” Bradstreet writes, “No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,” making it known to her children that they should be good to God and not worry about pleasing other people but themselves. Through her writing she writes to teach her children her own Christian faith and beliefs to guide them through their own personal developments. She empathizes the importance of understand the importance of doing God’s will. Edward’s writes to prepare himself for meditation.
He writes for his own benefit and to better understand his purpose in life in the way it will please God. Taylor sees himself as an instrument of God. In “Upon a Wasp chilled with Cold” Taylor compares himself with a wasp saying, “Lord, clear my misted sight that I May hence view Thy Divinity” (305). In other words, Taylor asked that God clear his sight so that he can do God’s will. Taylor writes for his own benefit so that he can build a closer relationship with God. Bradstreet and Edward had different views when it came to the way they perceived death through their writings.
When Bradstreet wrote about death it was about separation and it caused her a great deal of sorrow. Through her writing she tries to prepare her family for death. In “Contemplation” she writes about time being the enemy on earth and that, “Here’s neither honor, wealth, nor safety; Only above is found all with security” (222). In “Before the Birth of One of Her Children” she writes that death is part of life, “irrevocable” (225). Further she tells her unborn children to remember her and to protect her other children from a stepmother if she is to die.
In “To My Dear Children” Bradstreet writes, “if I perish, I perish: but I know all the Powers of Hell shall never prevail against it” (238). Bradstreet prepares herself for death, she is not afraid, but wants to prepare her children for when the time comes. Taylor’s purpose is to build a closer bond with God. He wants to reach out to God and create a unity worthy of him. He doesn’t write to ask that his family follow his footsteps, but he writes to God directly. In “The Soul’s Groan to Christ for Succor” written by Taylor is a good example of him writing to God to forgive his soul because he has been inclined to sin.
He writes to God to let him know that the dog or sin is causing him to, “from Thy Pasture stray” (299). He wants God to help him keep the sin away so that he can find Grace, preparing for the afterlife. In “upon Wedlock, and Death of Children” when Taylor loses one of his children he says, “At that unlooked for, dolesome, darksome hour. In Prayer to Christ. ” Taylor knows that during a time of mourning most people would be angry, but he is not and instead he prays.
Taylor takes the negativity of death and use is it to reach peace within him by praying to Christ. He saw death as a necessity to the order of life. Bradstreet and Taylor both show love for their spouses and families. They were truly devoted Puritans who through their writing expressed differently their righteousness and sovereignty of God. Although, both choose different audiences and had different views of death they had a common purpose to accept God’s will through any difficulties in their lives and praise God always through sickness and in health.
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