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Analysis of "In Reference to Her Children"

"In Reference to Her Children" essay due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

Anne Bradstreet, perhaps the first American poet, came to the Colonies from her native England, where she also wrote prolifically in poetry form. Analysis of In Reference to Her ChildrenWritten on June 23, 1659, “In Reference to Her Children” is both metaphorical and symbolic, expressing everything from pathos to love and a hope for her eternal reward.

This poem begins metaphorically, where Bradstreet depicts her eight children as “birds”:

“I had eight birds hatcht in one nest,

Four Cocks were there, and Hens the rest.”

In Reference to Her Children

In a way, the first six lines of the poem present the reader with a tinge of motherly bragging. “No cost or labour did I spare” demonstrates both her pride in her and her ceaseless efforts to raise good children. While Bradstreet does not directly mention instilling moral and religious values in her children, it is strongly implied in the line cited above. The Puritanical times of America during the 17th century were firmly rooted in the strict moral and ethical values in society, and in those first six lines, Bradstreet is letting the reader know she did more than her duty in that regard, as in the development of her characters.

The main emphasis of the poem, however, is on a mother’s lament that her children have left. Five of her eight children have left home – through marriage and relocation or by going to college. Though three remain at home, Bradstreet plaintively writes in lines 37-40:

“My other three still with me nest

Until they’re grown, than as the rest,

Or here or there, they’ll take flight,

As is ordain’d, so shall they light.”

The Poem

In a way, these are the saddest lines of the poem. Three children still are in the “nest”, a word Bradstreet uses four other times symbolically. Her home is not simply a place to live; it is a comfortable, loving environment that is continually emptying as yet another child leaves. Home also is a place of faith; lines 39 and 40 express a belief in God’s plan for every child, who must find his or her own way, but armed with the foundation Bradstreet has given them.

Her children did not simply leave home; they “flew out of sight , “percht to spend her years” elsewhere, and “One to the Academy flew”. This symbolism conveys not only a tremendous sense of loss, but also what we today call the Empty Nest Syndrome, a term Bradstreet uses indirectly and with great pathos.

Related Research Paper Topics

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