“The Burning of Our House” by Anne Bradstreet
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Prompt:Think about the major Puritan beliefs as you re-read this poem. What philosophical beliefs about God and the purpose of human life are reflected in Bradstreet’s poem?
In the poem “The Burning of Our House,” author Anne Bradstreet wakes up in the middle of the night to discover that her house has caught on fire. Anne Bradstreet was a woman born into a family of Puritans and then married a Puritan man. Being of Puritan religion, she regarded this horrible occurrence as a bad sign from the Lord.
Puritans did not believe that the clergy or the government had the right to come between an individual and God. They believed that because of Adam and Eve’s sin, a majority of humanity would be damned for all of eternity. However, the Puritans additionally believed that God sent Jesus Christ to save certain people. They thought the world had fallen and all of humanity was sinners who could only be redeemed through worshiping God.
Puritans believed in the innate depravity of man. People were “predestined” to go to heaven with God. Predestination is the idea that only God distinguishes where each person will end up in eternity. The individuals who were blessed with great wealth and were descendants from prosperous families were a part of the designated people to go to heaven. For those who were less fortunate, Puritans believed that hard work was the way of winning the Lords favor.
Anne Bradstreet deemed the burning of her house as a dreadful sign from God. She was left helpless watching her house become consumed with flames. “And when I could no longer look, I blest His name that gave and took, that laid my goods now in the dust” (29). God had gifted Anne Bradstreet with everything that she owned.