Anne Bradstreet as Puritan

Anne Bradstreet as Puritan


There are numerous literary periods in American history, which can be perceived as the key forerunners with regard to the American literature. Puritanism refers a reformative movement that existed during the 16th and 17th century, at a time when English were under the governance of the Catholic Church, and there were building their hopes on purification by a more firm devotion to God and the protestant religion (Dolle 89). The puritans were of the opinion that they could achieve salvation if they devoted their faith to God by living a life that is pure. During this period, most literary elements were full of religious allusions and was recorded basing on a firm homage to the almighty God. With this regard, Anne Bradstreet was one of the American poets on Puritanism. Her writings are full of the religious freedom that most people had longed for during this literature period. It can be argued that her poems depicted high eloquence and passion, which is one of the possible reasons why her literature works managed to stand the test of time. The poems of Anne Bradstreet are a clear indication of Puritanism basing on divinity, love and devotion of faith to the almighty God.

In the poem “The Flesh and the Spirit”, Anne Bradstreet makes use of metaphors and figurative language in order to compare the diverse aspects of spiritualism and materialism basing on the voices of varying personas between the flesh and the spirit. In the poem, the author denotes the tug-of-war that exists between what is good and what is evil. The terrible things that bring people down in the present day world were similar to the bad things that the affected the Spartan Christians, and the battle between God and the Devil has been in existence prior to the Puritans and after their times (Dolle 87).

The battle between the good and evil affects all humanity with the Puritans included. The authors approach to the above issue gives a precise insight regarding the viewpoint of the struggle. Anne Bradstreet’s message is offered with clarity, simplicity and a sweet voice that uses the lilting rhythm. The flash and the spirit, which are the core elements that make up the human persona is depicted on a story that is analogous to the temptation imposed on Jesus by the devil (Dudley 145).

The change in personas of the spirit and the flesh in the poem are denoted by a pause, implying that the conversation temporarily stops when there is a change in the speaker. Bradstreet makes use of slant rhymes as evident in the initial fifteen. Despite the fact the flesh and the spirit possess significant similarities in relation to birth and origin, their viewpoints regarding life show significant deviations. According to the biblical myths, the devil was once an angel who was sent by God out of heaven to rule the earth while God is in charge of the heavens. It is ironic that God and the devil play an important role in perfectly balancing the world (Harde 78). The square-meter denotes the balance between good and evil, which is persistently restored in order to ensure that humanity, assess both viewpoints and direct their faith on the Almighty God. The poem can be argued to an example of the contrast between evil and good. This is because the Spirits tells the flesh that “No candle there, nor yet torchlight (line 101), for there shall be no darksome night (line 102). This means that God’s light already shines in places where the spirit dwells. The implication is that if the flesh is considered evil, then the spirit has to be pure. Basing on this approach, there is order and balance between good and evil, their coexistence and interdependence.

Bradstreet makes use of biblical imagery, messages and stories, which are vital to the Puritan comprehension regarding the Christian message. The onset of the poem is marked by the flesh being depicted as a worldly body that attempts to have an understanding of the survival of the spirit on the aspirations of heaven. The Spirit in this context is an abstraction of the soul. The spirit, as depicted in the poem, rejects Satan and other attributes related to his works, opting to focus on heaven and perceived heavenly treasures that can be attained by good deeds and confronting temptation while still on earth. Bradstreet says that man does not live on bread alone. However, a notable observation is that this struggle is derived from the New Testament (Nichols 74).

The poem also offers diverse hints regarding the authors own humility and the approval regarding the impossibility of the task to be undertaken. The author admits in most cases, the Flesh has attempted to influence the spirit in order to enjoy the pleasures of life and its respective joys (Harde 100).

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