On Trying to Hate Anne Bradstreet

When I first began to look at the works of Anne Bradstreet, I felt like I didn’t like her. I couldn’t understand why, but I didn’t. It’s like the first time I skimmed through the Twilight bullshit. Stephanie Meyer sucks at writing, but she’s more famous than I’ll ever be, and, subsequently, still a better writer than me, which goes to show you how well my writing career is taking shape. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stand it, but you got to giver her credit. Meyer wrote about wolves and vampires falling in love with babies and epic battles on frozen tundras when everyone thought it was cool. Luckily, I think society has shifted off of vampires, but I digress. I hate Stephanie Meyer as much as I like Anne Bradstreet. Let me explain.

So, I’m all about showing someone up. I really am. You give me something I’m good at, and someone who’s bad at the thing I’m good at, and I’ll be set for weeks. If you read through Bradstreet’s work, that’s exactly what it is. She isn’t saying directly that she’s better than anyone, but she’s basically saying that she’s better than everyone at writing. Not just that, but she”s saying indirectly that she’s better because she’s a woman. “I am obnoxious to each carping tongue/ who says my hand a needle better fits. /A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong; /For such despite they cast on female wits, /If what I do prove well, it won’t advance– /They’ll say it was stolen, or else it was by chance” (OpenAmLit). So basically, she’s saying that most guys want her to sew, but instead she’s not going to. I mean, in real life, she’s going to, but she doesn’t want to. Furthermore, she says that anyone who views her work is probably going to think that it was stolen from someone else. That line, to me, was almost like a watermark; saying that she probably stole it because that’s what society thinks really means that she literally couldn’t have stolen it. Right?

She continues to talk about her terrible writing, saying “If e’er you deign these lowly lines your eyes, /Give thyme or parsley wreath; I ask no bays. /This mean and unrefinĂ©d ore of mine /Will make your glistening gold but more to shine” (OpenAmLit). Kind of like, ‘if you ever are, like, really bored and read that stuff, just know that it’s so bad, it will make your writing look awesome. That’s how small-brained and terrible I am.’ Which is where the feminist aspect comes in. Many people who dissect Bradstreet’s work see it as being very feminist-minded. Realistically, if you can’t see it in her writing, you’re blind. But in reality, I can’t actually tell if she’s a feminist or not. Which makes me not like her.

It’s not like I hate her though. How can I? She’s either the Sarah Silverman of the 17th century, sassin’ it up and feminizin’ and stuff, or she’s actually believing what she writes. I don’t care how much people say that she was a total feminist, I don’t fully buy it. I buy it, but I don’t. I try so hard to put myself in people’s shoes and I just can’t seem to believe that Bradstreet and her brother-in-law concocted a plan to publish her works in a feminist lens. I also have a hard time believing that Bradstreet merely thought she was nothing more than a puny woman, at the hands of intellectual men and couldn’t write as well as they could, but she wanted to get her work out there anyways. I don’t have a side here, which is why I hate her, even though I don’t really.


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