The Author of Her book
In “The Author to Her Book,” Bradstreet is awash in indecision and internal conflicts over the merits and shortfalls of her creative abilities and the book that she produced. This elaborate internal struggle between pride and shame is manifested through a painstaking conceit in which she likens her book to her own child.
An essential step in analyzing a poem is to provide a structural outline of the poem. Anne Bradstreets poem, “The Author to Her Book,” can be divided into seven sections. First, line one provides the general description of how she views her creation. She repeatedly speaks directly to her work in apostrophe, as if it were her own child. Second, lines two through five depict how she feels embarrassed that her private works were published without her consent and before she was finished editing and correcting them. Then in lines six through nine, Bradstreet equates the embarrassment she feels due to her as-yet-unperfected work to the shame a parent feels due to an ill-tempered child. She continues in line 10 through 14 to tell her desire to erase any error in the poem, but in lines 15 through 17 she realizes that this cannot be done because it is already in print. Finally in lines 19 and 20, a mothers unconditional love shows as she sends her child away with admonitions. In the end, Bradstreet leaves her child with the thought, be known for your own value.
A second step in analyzing a poem is to identify the main idea or point of the poem. In “The Author to Her Book,” Bradstreet uses an extended metaphor to emphasize her dissatisfaction with the publishing of her poems (ll 3, 7, 9, 10), but tells how she cannot turn her back on her own creation (ll 12, 16, 19-24). Thus, Bradstreet conveys the embarrassment she feels due to her imperfect work. The main idea shows throughout the poem as Bradstreet struggles with the idea of her work being published when not fully perfected.
Another useful tool in analyzing a poem is to identify poetic devices, meter, and a rhyme scheme. Through her deft use of extended metaphor, Bradstreet weaves an intricate web of parallels between parent and author and between child and book–both relationships of creator to creation. This use of metaphor allows the reader to relate emotionally to Bradstreets situation. In line seven, we see the uses of litotes, “At thy return my blushing was not small,” to express the depth of her embarrassment. She also uses metonymy in line eight to express her pain more clearly, “My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.” The simile used in line nine stresses her objection to the published work, “I cast thee by as one unfit for light.” Then in line 19, the poetic device of consonance is used which provides emphasis on her warning, “In this array mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.” In this poem, through the use of personification and apostrophe Bradstreet conveys her feelings and emotions. Anne Bradstreet ensures her poems success by linking the triumph and tragedy of authorship with the pain and pleasure of creating and nurturing human life. The meter used is iambic pentameter, and the poem is written in a rhyme pattern of heroic couplet. The use of multiple poetic devices creates one of the most interesting poems in American writing.
“The Author to Her Book” reveals a deeper, unnamed feeling, which many of us have felt. Having ones self exposed to the world for all to view and critique is a situation to which every writer can relate. Bradstreets poem makes us understand not only her nature but also our own. She uses her poem to interpret her hidden emotions and to give them a voice. By analyzing Bradstreets poem, we were able to explore the words to see how they move and how they move us.
The Author of Her book