Summary and Analysis of In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet by Anne Bradstreet

About the Poet:

Anne Bradstreet (March 20, 1612- September 16, 1672) was one of the most prominent of Early English poets of North America. She was among the first few writers in England’s North American colonies to be published. Born in Northampton, England, she was a well-read scholar, especially affected by the works of Du Bartas. She was the first Puritan figure in American Literature for her notable works in poetry as well as her personal writings that were published posthumously.

Introduction to the poem:

This poem by Anne Bradstreet speaks of the death of her grand child, namely, Elizabeth Bradstreet. The poem acts as Anne’s eulogy to the death of her grandchild. The poet narrates the unfortunate implications that the Almighty creates that relate to the sorrow of the death of someone in your life. She also takes her cherishes the fact that the path to fate is predestined and hence, we cannot help but acknowledge the presence of those who are already in our lives.

The setting of In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet:

The poem is set in the timing around the time of the death of her grandchild Elizabeth. Anne Bradstreet uses this poem to bid farewell to her grandchild and uses terms like “blest babe” and “fair flower” to describe her. Although her departure brings grief to the poet, she still believes that her granddaughter’s death was the path that her life was meant to take. She asks of herself to be accepting of the fact that life needs to take its course, much like the falling of ripe apples from its tree and the corn and grass being mown after they dry.


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Poetic Devices in In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet:

Alliterations:

Line 3: “Farewell sweet flower that for a space that was lent”

Line 4: “Then ta’en away unto eternity”

Line 5: “Blest babe, why should I once bewail thy fate”

Line 6: “Or sigh thy days so soon …”

Line 7: “Sith thou art settled in an everlasting state”

Line 11: “And time brings down what is both strong and tall”

Line 13: “And buds new blown to have so short a date”

Line 14: “Is by his hand alone that guides nature and fate.”

Personification/ Metaphor:

Line 2: “… the pleasure of mine eye”

Line 3: “Farewell fair flower …”

Line 11: “And time brings down what is both

                 strong and tall”

Line 14: “Is by his hand alone that guides nature

                  and fate.”

Symbolism:

The dear babe that is addressed to in this poem symbolises Anne Bradstreet’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Bradstreet who has just passed away.

Style of In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet:

“Farewell, dear babe, my heart’s too much content (A)


Farewell sweet babe, the pleasure of mine eye (B)

Farewell sweet flower that for a space that was lent (A)

Then ta’en away unto eternity (C)

Blest babe, why should I once bewail thy fate (D)

Or sigh thy days so soon were terminate (D)

Sith thou art settled in an everlasting state (D)

Summary of In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet:

The poem is Anne Bradstreet’s eulogy to the life of her granddaughter Elizabeth Bradstreet. She is saddened by her death but cannot help to acknowledge that the path of destiny is predefined. She even goes to the distance of blaming herself for being much attached to her granddaughter and is punished for doing so by the loss of her loved one. She later wishes to move ahead, like the felling of ripe fruits and the mowing of dried grass that are replaced soon enough. She bids goodbye to the memories of her granddaughter and hopes to move on from her death as soon as she can.

Critical Analysis of In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet:

This poem deals with the loss of a loved one from one’s life. Anne Bradstreet tells the reader about the dear relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter. She also depicts the sorrows of her grand child’s death is a beautiful manner. Even after the death of such a near and dear one, she encourages the reader to look at life as a predestined story and move ahead with their lives, remembering the memories of the one that they lost through it all.

Central Idea of In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet:

Bradstreet’s idea of this poem revolves around the loss of her grandchild that was the apple of her eye. She bids her farewell and narrates her thoughts about her death in this poem. She also wishes to educate her readers about letting go of the death of their loved ones and to accept their fate as the way of life. She asks them to move ahead and accept the fact that everything happens for a purposeful reason.

The tone of In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet:

The poet first bids farewell to her grandchild while describing all that she mean to Bradstreet- a fair flower and the apple of her eye. She blames herself to being much too content with her grandchild that life punished her by stealing her away. She expresses her disbelief but also goes on to narrate the predestined path of fate, and much like the felling of ripe fruits and the mowing of grass, she should also move ahead of the tragedy and look forward throughout.

Conclusion:

Anne Bradstreet narrates this poem to define the emotions felt after the loss of a near and dear one. But she also defines the reason for their departure from our lives, which is the fact that we were much too attached to them emotionally and hence had to pay the price by facing their death. She asks of us to accept the truth of tragedy but continue to go on with our lives like we should be.

Contributor: Deeksha Honawar

 

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