By Douglas Anderson
A complete diversity of yank writers have fascinated by photographs of family, household advantage, and the female or feminized hero. this crucial new publication examines the patience and adaptability of such issues within the paintings of vintage writers from Ann Bradstreet via Jefferson and Franklin to Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. with out minimizing the diversities that divide those figures, Anderson exhibits the level to which, of their numerous conditions, they have been all devoted to a standard enterprise--a social and cultural reconstruction in accordance with the household values of the proper inner most loved ones.
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Additional info for A House Undivided: Domesticity and Community in American Literature
Jefferson is not by nature an allegorist or a maker of adroit puns, but he constructs here an unusually telling version of Winthrop's 44 A HOUSE UNDIVIDED Mosaic choice in language that is true to the descriptive purposes of the Notes and at the same time unusually sensitive to the national predicament. Jefferson's fiercely partisan politics and his optimism about the American future suggest that, in Winthrop's terms, he viewed the Revolution as a clear triumph of life over death, of plainness and simplicity over riot and tumult.
In weakness and dishonour sown, In power 'tis raised by Christ alone. Then soul and body shall unite And of their Maker have the sight. Such lasting joys shall there behold As ear ne'er heard nor tongue e'er told. Lord make me ready for that day, Then come, dear Bridegroom, come away. (295) Bradstreet clearly chooses "life" in this poem, whereas the first weary (and, not incidentally, male) pilgrim chooses death. Her last two lines are characteristically retiring and bold, insecure about her personal worthiness and at the same time startlingly confident in her own powers of appeal.
Bradstreet certainly does not force the association upon us, but there is a great deal of difference between the distressed mother bird who had cried "O to your safety have an eye" just a few lines earlier and the quality of calm and stately wisdom that suddenly settles upon the poem's close. The shift in tone that occurs in these final lines suggests Bradstreet's desire to entice us along into a delightful and striking contrast. 21 As the rich fusion of tones in "The Author to Her Book" suggests, Bradstreet is engaged in a more or less steady struggle with the self.