Three very significant women that are part of a developing tradition by American women poets are Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, and Emily Dickinson.
Although these women are from different backgrounds and time periods their works compare in many ways. However, there are still some differences between these three influential writers. Bradstreet reflects puritan thinking through her poems; when she says, “Adieu, Adieu, all’s vanity’ she is reflecting the puritan thinking about the vanity of this world. Bradstreet wrote during a time when women weren’t wanted.
She went ut of Puritan’s belief by being intellectual as a woman. They believed that people need to control themselves and live for the higher being; believed in predestination, God has already chosen who should be saved. Some themes Bradstreet has in her poems are loneliness, isolation and women in a puritan society.
“Let poets and historians set these forth; my obscure lines shall not so dim their worth. ” Often in her poems she writes extremely modest, undermining herself showing how women were seen at this time.Her poems are usually intended for members of her family and are airly intimate. For example, a poem that was directed to her husband says: “l prize thy love more than whole mines of gold, Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompense. Thy love is such I can no way repay.
.. Then when we live no more, we may live ever. ” Her husband’s love is worth more than the abundance of goods the world has to offer; her love for her husband will always last forever.
In Wheatleys “On being Brought from Africa to America” she has a calm, eaceful style in the first stanza she says, “Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand That there’s a God, that there’s a Savior too: Once I redemption neither sought nor knew. ” She is spiritual in her writing making numerous biblical allusions. “Some view our sable race with scornful eye, “Their color is a diabolic die. ” Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain, May be refined, and Join the angelic train.
” Wheatley is protesting how black people are seen and saying that she’s going to heaven Just as you are.She had a gentle religious tone, even though her writing is protesting. However, her tone is also sarcastic. She is not saying black is beautiful, but rather it can be refined; thus taking the first step toward “their” freedom like Bradstreet.
She reflects the neoclassical period “emphasis on the public good, building a better world, idea of progress and the use of reason. ” Many of her poems reflect that she is more interested in Africa: “l, young in life, by seeming cruel fate Was snatched from Africa’s fancied happy seat: What pangs excruciating must molest,What sorrows labor in my parent’s breast? Steeled was that soul and by no misery moved That from a father seized his babe beloved: Such, such my case. And can I then but pray Others may never feel tyranic sway? ‘ She was a slave taken as a young child onto the middle passage to get to America. No one even knew her actual age, they believed she was about seven years old because she was losing her first teeth.
Her themes are protest against the norm of things, including slavery and the lack of women’s rights.Dickinson wrote for herself with no intention of others reading her poems, she ad a very mysterious life; and she was in the closet philosophically. Her themes in her poems challenge conventional thinking of the nineteenth century; she writes of death, god, nature, love and art. These themes often intertwine giving it greater meaning. She says: “With thee, in the Desert??” With thee in the thirst??” With thee in the Tamarind wood??” Leopard breathes??”at last! ” In this poem she is referencing god, nature, love and death; this seems to be a biblical allusion to Adam and Eve.Dickinson’s style is compressed, filled with odd iction, and syntax. As seen above, she uses dashes instead of commas and often makes her structure so different than the norm that it changes meaning. She expressed unconventional ideas through unconventional style.
In conclusion, Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, and Emily Dickinson are part of a developing tradition by American woman poets. They express this through their tone, style and themes; even though these writers are amongst different backgrounds and time periods they all merge into the same belief that women deserve to have rights.