What are the main motives at the beginning of the Puritan Anne Bradstreet’s poem?
As we mentioned before, Puritan Plain Style tends not to use elaborate figures of speech, but in this poem, we can find different literary devices such as allusions or inversions. Allusions are the most important literary device used in this poem and consist of a brief and indirect reference to a person, event or thing. The writer usually expects the reader to be able to recognize them. In the case of this poem, we encounter several biblical allusions (which we will analyze later), and we see how Bradstreet can create strong religious messages within the context of an everyday situation. On the other hand, we encounter an inversion when we have sentences that are not written in their normal word order. This often used to maintain the rhyme scheme or meter in a poem and makes sentences seem to have a more complex meaning than what they really have.
As we begin reading the poem, Anne starts describing the moment she realized her house was on fire. The first four lines of this stanza are full of inversions like “In silent night rest I took” or “For sorrow near I did not look.” From lines 8-10, Bradstreet asks God to save her and is grateful that she has only lost material goods, but we can also see that she does not fully trust him as she asks God not to leave her without comfort instead of just simply trusting that he will do what is best for her.
After that, Anne tries to comfort herself. We find an allusion in line 14 to Job: 1:21 “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away” with which we see that she realizes that she cannot complain about what happened because God is the creator and has the right to take her things away. Bradstreet also tries to accept the loss of her possessions and tries to submit herself to God. This idea of submission is really present in Puritan faith.