To My Dear And Loving Husband — страница 2

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writes how her love for her husband could never run out. “My love is such that rivers cannot quench” (Line seven) This quote portrays the idea that their love is everlasting, as well as it says that her love is so strong that nothing could change her feelings. The final evidence of the sincerity of her vow of love is the fact that the first three lines: “If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee; If ever wife was happy in a man,” (Lines 1-3) have appeared on an oath that some Puritan women recite upon marriage. This vow connects the sincerity of her own love to the Puritan values. The surface interpretation leaves the reader to conclude that Bradstreet’s poem was an honest and sincere portrayal of her love. However with careful and

in depth analysis, a deeper interpretation is found. This interpretation of “To My Dear and Loving Husband” is quite ironic, because a totally different message is conveyed from the obvious when the poem in re-read and analyzed. The impression that Bradstreet leaves is that it is not a true love at all that she shares with her husband. There seems to a hidden sarcasm in the poem. In some instances in this poem the passion seems to be forced, and the sincerity of the poem is questioned by the reader. An explanation for this lack of passion and sincerity may be due to the time era in which the poem was written, and the role of women in a Puritan society. During this era, and in Bradstreet’s society, women were expected to care deeply for their husbands, regardless of what

they really thought. This gender struggle may be why there is a sense of verbal irony in the poem and why the passion seems insincere. Another point that suggests that the poem is ironic is when the reader looks at the intended audience. This poem would not have been published if it was not for Bradstreet’s brother-in-law taking the poem in manuscript form without consent back to England for publication. (Department of English – University of Toronto, 1997) This unawareness gives the reader an idea that the poem was not intended for public reading which supposes a notion that the poem was for Bradstreet’s eyes only. Throughout the poem Bradstreet is writing only about her love, not the love that she is receiving. This omission indicates that only she is putting in the

effort, which is not true love. There is a question if there is a equal input, but after analyzing the poem it looks as if Bradstreet puts a majority of the effort in herself. Furthermore, women could not voice their opinion in public during her time, and this may have been a way for Bradstreet to voice her opinion without reprisal. In addition, the word “if” occurs at the beginning in each of the first three lines of the poem. The fact that she uses “if” makes it seem as if she is trying to tell her husband how she thinks the marriage should be, and that she may be wishing for that kind of love. Bradstreet describes her love to be so great, yet she continues to use the word “if”. This contradiction shows how her love may not be true, and she does not approve of this

lack of reality. Bradstreet knew that she could not write openly for fear of some type of penalty, which also explains the contradiction. The words “recompense” (Line eight), and “repay” (Line nine) show that Bradstreet has feeling of insecurity and even doubt, which she has to mask or repress because of the society she lives in. Another indication that this is not true love is that Bradstreet feels she has to repay her husband for the time they’ve spent. Obviously these feelings of “recompense” and “repay” are not those associated with real love. Another point that comes up is the comparisons made in the poem. When someone’s love is true there is no need to compare it to anything. The comparison that Bradstreet makes “I prize my love more than whole mines

of gold” (Line five) show that there is a feeling of imbalance rather than unity from her A crucial point that supports the irony of this poem is found in a metaphor that reflects the insincerity of their love. “Or all the riches that the East doth hold.” (Line six) During the 1600’s when Bradstreet lived, the East Indies was a land where many North Americans (Bradstreet lived in Massachusetts) believed there were lost riches. This metaphor suggests that Bradstreet is looking for lost love or a love once had, because she compares it to the “riches” that were never found in the Indies. When a deeper examination is taken, one can see how Bradstreet may have been trying to portray a sense of irony when describing the love with her husband. This exploration for a new