Anne Bradstreet's Themes Lie Within The Rhyme That Does Not Rhyme.
Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug." This quote defines Anne Bradstreet, for she has proven to be a master of word placement. Her ability to always create the perfect poetic structure was a necessity, not a luxury. Growing up and living as a woman in a man's world made it impossible for her to show her true feeling on paper, without first disguising them with a contradicting costume. Bradstreet lived in the 1600's as a Puritan. This was a time when women were not expected to be educated and more importantly, were not tolerated if they spoke against the strong, religious Puritan beliefs. So Anne, a highly educated woman, who did not agree with the Puritan's beliefs, very carefully rebelled with beautiful poetry and dynamic rhetorical strategies. The two poems that will be discussed here are "To My Dear and Loving Husband" and "Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our Houses." Though these two poems seem to focus on simplicity rather than complexity, there are many underlying meaning and rhetorical strategies that take place, such as Bradstreet's use of contradiction to portray a theme.
In Bradstreet's "To My Dear and Loving Husband," there are twelve lines. Lines one and two rhyme, and lines three and four rhyme, and five with six, seven with eight, and nine with ten. Then, the reader comes to lines eleven and twelve, which read, .
"Then while we live, in love let's so persevere.
That when we live no more, we may live ever."(Bradstreet 100).
Bradstreet could have thought of a million words that rhymes with persevere, but she chose the word "ever." Here lies a contradiction right at the end of what seems to be a sweet, innocent and simply structured love poem. .
One must ask why. And though the correct answer is infinite, for poems are pieces of art and the theme or conclusion of art is dependent on what the reader discovers within him or herself, my theory is that Bradstreet wants to say something more but cannot because of the time period and her status as a woman.