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Analyzing Anne Bradstreet’s The Author to Her Book

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Anne Bradstreet’s The Author to Her Book describes the complex attitude of the author – specifically the attitude of an author towards her work. Through use of a controlling metaphor, that of a child, Bradstreet manages to convey all of her feelings towards one of her works.

In order to introduce the controlling metaphor of The Author to Her Book, Bradstreet begins by using words that allude to the idea of birth. Within line one, Bradstreet uses the phrase “offspring of my feeble brain” to show the closeness that she ties between the work of an author and the authors themselves. Since the word offspring conveys a powerful meaning – a strong bond between two, a parent and a child, it shows that Bradstreet’s attitude towards her works is one where she perceives that same bond. The second line of the poem consists of the phrase “who after birth did’st by my side remain,” showing another connection to the controlling metaphor of the poem – birth and yet again shows the close connection between an author and their work.

Another part of the controlling metaphor of a child that shows Bradstreet’s attitude about one of her works is contained in lines four through line fourteen. Within the lines, lie Bradstreet’s feelings about the state of her piece, shown through her feelings about the appearance of the metaphorical child. Throughout the lines, a description of a lack of perfection is given – “I cast thee as one unfit for light”, “they blemishes amend”, “more defects I saw”, and “still made a flaw” all contribute greatly to the overall picture that no matter what, the work of the author is never in need of correction. In fact, Bradstreet shows the reader of her poem that the corrections to a book may bring more imperfections, more problems, by the line “and rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.”

For a final addition to her attitude about her works, Bradstreet gives the last stanza of the poem, lines twenty through twenty-four to describe her feelings of a piece in terms of a critic. To show the reader of the poem her feelings, Bradstreet gives advice to the metaphorical child, “If for thy Father asked… she alas is poor.” What Bradstreet intends the reader of the poem to determine from her use of those lines within the controlling metaphor of the child, is that when a critic comes into contact with a work that they should know that it is still rough – never to be completed.

The Author to Her Book shows Anne Bradstreet’s complex attitude towards any literary work of hers by giving the controlling metaphor of a child to describe different aspects of her beliefs.

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