The Author of Her book
Uploaded by jrreid on Oct 10, 2000
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 Bradstreet’s 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 mother’s 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 Bradstreet’s situation. In line seven, we see the uses of litotes, “At...