It is hard to sympathize with someone when you have no idea where they are
coming from or what they are going through. It is similar experiences that allow
us to extend our sincere appreciation and understanding for another human
beingís situations and trials of life. Anne Bradstreetís "The Author to

Her Book" expresses the emotions that Bradstreet felt when her most intimate
thoughts were published to the world without her consent. The average person
would not see the cause for distress that Bradstreet feels in this situation.

She had written a collection of near perfect poetry, which expressed her
feelings in a way that the majority of women during that time did not have the
talent or training to do. Many would wonder why she would be disturbed about
these works being printed when they had brought many people pleasurable reading
and had brought Bradstreet herself much personal fame. Therefore, Bradstreet can
not just write a straightforward poem to tell how she feels about her stolen
thoughts. Unless her reader happens to be a writer, he or she would not be able
to sympathize with Bradstreet in this matter. Instead, she had to use a
situation in which her readers could comprehend the many emotions she
experienced. No doubt, many women read her poetry, and the majority of women
during that time were, or would one day be mothers. This similarity opened a
door for understanding. By comparing her writing to a child, Bradstreet is able
to win the compassion of her readers and help them understand the feelings that
she experiences. Bradstreet sees herself s the "mother" (line 23) of this
work, which she calls an "ill-formed offspring" (line 1) and she gives the
work many human characteristics to enhance the effect of the conceit. She says
that the "child" had been by her side until "snatched from thence by
friends, less wise than true" (line 3). Bradstreetís works would probably
never have been published had it not been for her brother-in-law. A person she
thought she could trust saw fit to take her works back to England and have them
published without her consent. He took her most intimate thoughts and placed the
future of them in his own hands and she was never consulted. She shares an
intimacy with her work like that of a mother and child and that intimacy was
infringed upon when her work was "exposed to public view" (line 4). It is
because of this intrusion on that special relationship that Bradstreet
experiences the feelings that follow. Ironically, in this perfect piece of
poetry, the next thing she talks about is the mistakes and shame she feels at
not being able to perfect the work before it was published. She compares her
work to a child clothed in "rags" (line 5). She feels shame that the"errors were not lessened" (line 6) and refers to her work as a "rambling
brat" who is "one unfit for light" (line 8-9) Because her "child" was
taken so suddenly and without her knowledge, she had no time to correct its
mistakes. She feels a sense of shame, just like a mother would feel shame for
her child who has misbehaved or a child whose mother has not had proper time to
train them in the correct way to behave. Her shame is not necessarily in the
fact that she may have made some mistakes in her writing. A mother feels her
most shame, not when a child misbehaves, but when a child misbehaves in the
sight of others. This reflects badly on the mother- making it look like she does
not discipline or try to correct her child. In this same manner, Bradstreet does
not feel shame because she made mistakes, because everyone makes mistakes, but
instead because the mistakes in her works were made public so that "all may
judge" (line 6). But just as a mother loves her child unconditionally, so

Bradstreet loves her works. A child is a product of its parents and, of course,
parents wish they could correct every aspect of their child that is not perfect,
but they can not. There will always be some flaws, but a motherís love
overlooks these. In the same way, Bradstreet wishes that she could clean up her
unedited works. However, then she realizes that any corrections she would make
only bring another flaw into light. I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,

And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw. I stretched thy joints to make thee
even feet, Yet still thou runíst more