Anne Bradstreet’s The Flesh and the Spirit

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Anne Bradstreet’s The Flesh and the Spirit

SOUL: Oh, who shall from this dungeon raise

A soul enslaved so may ways?

With bolts of bones, that fettered stands

In feet, and manacled in hands;

Here blinded with an eye, and there

Deaf with the drumming of an ear;

A soul hung up, as 'twere, in chains

Of nerves, and arteries, and veins;

Tortured, besides each other part,

In a vain head, and double heart.

- Andrew Marvell "A Dialogue between the Soul and Body" (1621 - 1678)

In "The Flesh and the Spirit" Anne Bradstreet, like Andrew Marvell, creates a "dialogue" between the Earth bound "Flesh/Body" and the Heaven raised "Spirit/Soul." However, while Marvell leaves ambiguous which voice is superior in his "dialogue," Bradstreet is quite clear that the "Spirit" will "triumph" over her sister "Flesh," and as "victor" she will wear a "laurel head." Marvell launches directly into "dialogue" causing the exclusion of any narrator, and thus lessening the chance for determination of 'right' and 'wrong.' Bradstreet opens "The Flesh and the Spirit" in ...
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