Colonial Experiences in the 1700s from a Woman’s Perspective

Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson were women of faith in God and passion for writing. These characteristics enabled their survival from the hardships they faced. In this essay, I will compare and contrast their works of writing and their view of God, faith, the Bible, and Christianity. The writings of Mary Rowlandson were very powerful and the tough experiences she went through greatly influenced her writing. She had a tough life living in captivity.

For instance, when she stated, “…they had as good knock me in [the] head as starve me to death,” she was referring to how she was denied food (Bradstreet). During this period, her faith is seen when she seeks the help of God. Her writing style focuses on religion, allusion, and appeal to emotions. To remain focused on her goal and furthering of God’s plans upon her life, she constantly read the Bible. She wrote, “God orders all things for his for his holy ends,” to express this thought (Bradstreet). In addition, when she says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted,” she explains how her condition led her to find and solidify her faith in God.

Bradstreet’s experiences are recorded in her poems. In ‘Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning’, she talks about her house that caught fire. Her grief is seen when says, “No candle e’er shall shine in thee”, (Bradstreet). In the ‘Author of Her Book’, Bradstreet talks about having an unwanted child. The words, “I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,” show how she sees the shortcoming of her work when people perceive her work to be good.

‘Before the Birth of one of Her Children’ talks about a pregnant and dying woman’s agony, writing a letter to her husband. She writes, “death is inevitable!” signifying an experience of defeat; experiences that are also seen in ‘In Memory of My Dear Grandchild’. She says, “Experience might ‘fore this have made me wise,” (Bradstreet). In the poem ‘Letter to Her Husband’, she longs to see her husband who is working away from home. She says, “He has gone southward and she is weary, feeling that the day is too long.” (Bradstreet). Despite having painful experiences, Bradstreet still wrote cheerful pieces. In ‘My Dear and Loving Husband’, she describes her happy marriage, saying, “If ever wife was happy in a man, compare with me, ye women, if you can,” (Bradstreet). This statement also illustrates how happy she was with her partner, which she thinks other women may not achieve.

Both writers had similar religious views. Their faith in God strengthened from the afflictions they experienced. Additionally, prayer remained to be their main source of strength. Their writing also had a sombre tone, with the overall themes of their writings being those of affliction and hope, giving readers an opportunity to delve into their experiences, and in the end, helping them believe afflictions always end.

However, the introduction of the experiences that brought them closer to God were not the same. Rowlandson did not relate well with the natives while in captivity due to the bad living conditions she was subjected to. She also feared she would lose her spirituality after being taken away from her home. On the other hand, Bradstreet had a good relationship with the people around her. Also, the general structure of their writing differed.

Bradstreet used poetry to express her thoughts and feelings while Rowlandson used narratives. Her delivery was more direct compared to that of Bradstreet, which was very upright, direct, and straight to the point. In general, the impact of each of their works on the readers will depend on the preferences that interests them more.

Works Cited
Bradstreet, Anne. "The Author to Her Book"; "Before the Birth of One of Her Children"; "To My Dear and Loving Husband"; "A Letter to Her Husband,..."; "In Memory of My Dear Grandchild..."; "Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning..." (pp. 122-127).
Rowlandson, Mary: "A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson" (pp. 132-151)