Emily Bradstreet's Poem The Author to Her Book

Emily Bradstreet's Poem The Author to Her Book

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Emily Bradstreet's Poem "The Author to Her Book"


The Author to Her Book, by Emily Bradstreet is a poem in which Bradstreet is laments about the publishing of her writings without her permission. The purpose of the piece is for Bradstreet to express the love, pride and remorse she feels toward her new book and is displayed elegantly through the metaphor of a mother and child. Lines eleven and twelve contribute to the poem’s purpose; they show that Bradstreet is unsatisfied with her work, and desires to fix it. Unfortunately, the book has already been published, and it is too late for her “child” to attain perfection in its mother’s eyes.

The first part of line eleven illustrates the pride Bradstreet takes in her work. “Yet being mine own…” is Bradstreet’s way of taking ownership of her work, regardless of how misshapen it may seem. Through this line, Bradstreet is saying that because the book is hers, she is the only one with the right and ability to fix it. This is much like when a child gets hurt; only a mother’s kiss can make a “boo-boo” feel better. There may even be a hint of Bradstreet’s book being like the child whose face only a mother can love.

While Bradstreet takes ownership of her book at the beginning of line eleven, by the end of that line, and the beginning of twelve, she is criticizing her work, saying that “at length affection would thy blemishes amend...” Through this, Bradstreet makes a connection to the beginning of the line, as only her love, care and attention can make the piece beautiful. If she gives enough attention to her “child” and corrects it enough, perhaps the book would not be such a shame to her. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so ugly.

By the end of the twelfth line, Bradstreet has taken pride in her work, and has also criticized it. The last bit of line twelve is where the author shows her remorse. “If so I could” is the author’s way of lamenting her inability to rearrange the parts of her ill-formed offspring. Bradstreet is saying that her “child” has already been branded, and there is nothing more she can do to make it perfect.

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Through these two short lines, Bradstreet takes her book under her wing, admits its inadequacy, and vows that she would devote much attention to fixing the errors within. Bradstreet also comes to the realization that it is too late. While she would love to see her child refined, there is nothing more that can be done about its poor manners. Lines eleven and twelve fit in perfectly with the rest of the poem. They contribute not only to the metaphor of mother and child, but also to the overall purpose of the piece. With the help of these lines, Bradstreet is able to express her indignation, pride, and desire to improve her work. The beginning of line eleven provides Bradstreet a way to say “this is mine,” and the end of line twelve gives her a chance to admit that, for the “offspring of her feeble brain,” it is too late for perfection.
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