Baca vs. Bradstreet
In Jimmy Santiago Baca's poem entitled I, and Anne Bradstreet's Verses Upon the
Burning of Her House, both write about their dreadful experience of the burning of their
homes. But the way in which each of the poets express this occurrence, with the use of
different styles of imagery and the diction, can change the way the reader interprets the
poem. The tone used by each poet is critical because it indicates to the reader their
emotions. Therefore, by comparing these poems of Baca and Bradstreet, it will be evident
that these elements of writing: tone, diction, and imagery; are crucial factors that will
affect the way a reader perceives a poem.
By analyzing the tones of these poems, one can see that they are virtually opposite.
In Baca's poem, it is evident from the very beginning that he's setting a tone of utter
disbelief and vulnerability. In the first stanza Baca states how he was "numbed" as he
turned the corner to his home, and braced his body to prepare for the "shock" he would
feel. The very second Baca saw his flaming home, he's filled with horror and disbelief.
Near the end, when he walks into his room he falls to his hands and knees and looks
through the pile of ashes that once used to be his poems. This part of the poem symbolizes
his falling apart; when he falls to his hands and knees it shows the extent of his sorrow.
While Baca is torn apart, Bradstreet's tone is ultimately one of acceptance. At first,
Bradstreet's tone is one of grievance and lamenting, but in the middle of the poem it
changes in which she states that she shouldn't grieve over the loss of a home that didn't
belong to her; a home that belonged to the almighty man "that gave and took". In this
quote, she's referring to God as being all-powerful and that the house has always belonged
to him; and that he can give and take as he pleases. Therefore, she's willing to accept the
burning of her home, if its Gods will.
The imagery in both poems is very descriptive and vivid. In second stanza, Baca
gives a vivid description of the busy scene, describing the crowd of neighbors and firemen
that had gathered around "the charred husk of our(Baca's) house".