Bradstreet Feminism
As a female in a highly patriarchal society, Anne Bradstreet uses the reverse
psychology technique to prove the point of her belief of unfair and unequal
treatment of women in her community. Women who wrote stepped outside their
appropriate sphere, and those who actually published their work frequently faced
social censure. Compounding this social pressure, many women faced crushing
workloads and struggled with lack of leisure for writing. Others suffered from
an unequal access to education, while others were dealing with the sense of
intellectual inferiority offered to them from virtually every authoritative
voice, that voice usually being male. Bradstreet was raised in an influential
family, receiving an extensive education with access to private tutors and the

Earl of Lincoln\'s large library. She was part of an influential family who
encouraged her writing and circulated it in manuscript with pride. That kind of
private support did much to offset the possibility of public disapproval.

Bradstreet believed that women in her society were treated unfairly, and that
gender should be insignificant. In her "Prologue" she addresses
conflict and struggle, expressing her opinion toward women\'s rights, implying
that gender is unimportant and male dominance is wrong. Bradstreet asserts the
rights of women to learning and expression of thought, addressing broad and
universal themes. The "Prologue" has a humble tone with slightly
hidden surprises, containing a muted declaration of independence from the past
and a challenge to male authority. Bradstreet also uses a rather apologetic tone
to draw in the reader so that they will form an interest in her writing despite
her gender. In the beginning she refers to "wars,"
"captains," and "epics," written specifically by male
writers, worrying that her poems will shame the art of poetry. Continuing her
self-demotion with an apologetic tone she talks about the "Great Bartas",
admiring his works, and sarcastically admitting that she will never be as
talented as he is. The sarcastic tone of these lines cause the typical reader to
reconsider that maybe women are not as bad as she portrays them to be, which is
exactly what she has schemed for the reader to think. Continuing, Bradstreet
mentions regret for her lack of skill, in which she laments the fact that
"A weak or wounded brain admits no cure" (stanza 4, line 24). As the
reading progresses, she discusses the prejudice against women, knowing that if
she expresses her true feelings, no one will look at her poem. Stanza 5, lines

25-30 implies that she despises anyone who thinks that women are better as
housewives, and that if their work "proves well," men will say it is
stolen or is "by chance," explaining unfair treatment of women.

Following, she mentions the Greeks as appreciative of women, blaming the current
society for the manipulation of women. She laments that the Greeks had fewer
arguments on women\'s rights and were more peaceful, contrasting it with the
current values of society, namely that the Greeks are wrong and women are
inferior. Bradstreet uses sarcasm to express her emotions toward the male
dominant society, saying that men are eternally correct, and women are inferior
to them. She sarcastically says that men are better than women, implying the
exact opposite, that women are in fact, equal in ability. She ends by stating
that she does not think her work is worth a critic\'s time, telling us that
although she thinks women are not inferior, she cannot do anything about it, and
that her works making men\'s "glist\'ring gold [work] but more to
shine." Bradstreet was a very gifted and talented poet, recording early
stirrings of female resistance to a social and religious system that was
prevalent at the time. She used different tones, moods, and sarcasm to bring her
poetry to life, giving a vivid, clearly worded image of what she wants her
reader to know, a strikingly radical notion that her writing could be as
competent as any male\'s. Although much of her work was conventional puritan
poetry, it shows a sensitivity to beauty that male writers of the time lacked.