Resistance And Dissent Of The Puritan Faith Through Anne Bradstreet 's Letter

Resistance And Dissent Of The Puritan Faith Through Anne Bradstreet 's Letter

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Resistance to Dissent of the Puritan Faith Through Anne Bradstreet’s “To My Dear Children”
Anne Bradstreet starts off her letter with a short poem that presents insight as to what to expect in “To My Dear Children” when she says “here you may find/ what was in your living mother’s mind” (Bradstreet 161). This is the first sign she gives that her letter contains not just a mere retelling of adolescent events, but an introspection of her own life. She writes this at a very turbulent point in history for a devout Puritan. She lived during the migration of Puritans to America to escape the persecution of the Catholic Church and also through the fragmentation of the Puritans into different sects when people began to question the Puritan faith. This leads Anne Bradstreet to write about topics one might think of as out of the ordinary for a mother to inscribe in a letter at the end of her life. Although Anne Bradstreet addresses “To My Dear Children” to her children, this letter’s effect is to reassure herself that her Puritan views are correct.
One of the most commonly accepted views of the Puritan doctrine needed some reassurance during this time, therefore Bradstreet writes plenty about the belief of God demonstrating His power through nature. Smallpox became rampant among the Native Americans when the Europeans brought the disease across the Atlantic Ocean, killing as many as ninety percent of the Patuxet tribe in the Massachusetts Bay area (Kohn 255). This was attributed to God fighting on the behalf of the Puritans because “Puritans portrayed themselves as God’s chosen sent to the New World following His will. At the same time, God destroyed the infidel savages who could obstruct the Christian pathway” (Kohn 255). Following this ...

... middle of paper ... her religion and how she overcame these problems. This gives great perspective into the mindset of all of her neighbors in Massachusetts as well. The “city upon a hill” (Winthrop 149) that John Winthrop told the Puritans they could create was not a perfect utopia even though they were finally free from the oppression of the Catholic Church. Doubts about whether God was truly on their side ensued as the Puritans discovered how laborious it was to live on the land and away from the luxury they were accustomed to in Europe. They began to question their own beliefs, just as Anne Bradstreet did. She presents these doubts in her letter and provides an understanding as to how this was not the perfect society it was meant to be. She also defends all of her doubts with logic, reasoning, and applications from the Puritan doctrine, which helps to solidify her beliefs in it.

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