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Bradstreet and Taylor: The Puritans

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 614
  • Category: Poems

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The Puritan Plain Style (PPS) of writing was a style developed by Puritans for their use in writing. This style most frequently uses common words, references to everyday objects, and direct statements. Two notable examples are To My Dear and Loving Husband by Anne Bradstreet and Huswifery by Edward Taylor. Although, Taylor strays away slightly from the Puritan Plain Style by using an extended metaphor both poems carry a similar style. While Bradstreet uses all the elements of PPS, Taylor lacks the third.

Both poets use simple, common language in their poetry. The words in Bradstreet’s poem never exceed two syllables; she uses simple words that people would understand and most would use on a daily bases. An example of this is when she says “If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee.” In this example Bradstreet uses “thee” a very common word that meant you. In another example Bradstreet says “Compare with me, ye women, if you can.” When Bradstreet uses “ye” it means all. Similarly, Taylor uses also uses simple words, but he uses them in a different manner; for example “Make me thy loome then, knit therein this Twine” in this statement Taylor uses loome a common object that many people of his time are familiar with. In this same statement he also uses twine which is a synonym for thread, another piece of the spinning wheel. By using this, the two poets connect with their audience. Both poets also use common experiences in their poems. In Bradstreet’s poem she expresses her love for her husband. This sentiment is shared by most women of her time as they can only marry once, an example of Bradstreet using this is when she says, “Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere,” by using this Bradstreet is confessing her love and how it will live forever.

Another example is “My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,” this uses the common experience of quenching thirst. Comparatively, Taylor uses the common experience of spinning a robe, he expresses this by saying, “And reel the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheel.” Spinning clothes was a very common experience of the women of this time, by using this comparison Taylor hopes to create a connection between his poem and the audience, as Bradstreet does by using love. While Bradstreet and Taylor both use two elements of the Puritan Plain Style. Taylor drifts from the third element, the direct statement; instead he uses an extended metaphor. He begins his poem by saying, “Make me, O Lord, thy Spinning Wheel complete” and ends it by saying, “That I am Clothed in Holy robes for glory.”

He uses this as an expression to show his creation, being weaved into existence, and at the end of the poem he becomes the “holy robes for glory” or a cleansed soul. Bradstreet drifts very little from direct statement when she says, “I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold” here she makes her comparison of love to money, but she does not continue to do so and instead continues with a direct statement. By using direct statement, Bradstreet makes a simple connection with her audience and gives them a simple comparison to her love. Meanwhile, Taylor uses his extended metaphor to show his connection to God. Although Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor both follow the Puritan Plain Style, Bradstreet is a closer follower of the style she uses all three elements. Though Taylor uses two of the elements he strays from the third with his use of a conceit. Taylor and Bradstreet’s style is similar because they are both from the same religion.

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