September 14 and 15

Early America's Digital Archive

WEEK FOUR: Day Five and WEEK FIVE: Day One

Unit Theme:

Beginnings of the American Literary Tradition:

Characteristics of American Literature during the Seventeenth Century

Purposes of Early American Writing

Unit Essential Question:

How did the earliest American writers view America?

How did the earliest American writers view the settler's difficulties in surviving a new land?

Essential Skill or Concept:

Students will discuss how Anne Bradstreet's poems deal with two important Puritan themes - domestic life and God.

Students will define diction and relate plain and ornate to the poetry of Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor.

Students will define and point out examples of iambic couplet and conceit.

Students will write interpretations of "Upon the Burning of Our House" and "Huswifery."

Mini-Lesson Outline:

A. With the teacher, students will read and discuss the following poems by Anne Bradstreet: "To My Dear and Loving Husband" (page 26) and "Upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666 (page 27 - 28).

B. The teacher will guide a discussion of "Upon the Burning" with annotations of the writer's technique and historical context.

C. Students will read pages 30, 32 – 33, including “Huswifery” and “Commentary.” [“Commentary” shows how annotation of a poem can be used to develop an analytical essay.] Students will complete #1 and #2 under “For Study and Discussion.”

D. Having studied the annotation process in “Commentary,” students will annotate the following poem for purpose, summary, writer's technique (i.e., lyric, couplets, images) and historical context (i.e., plain or ornate style, Puritan influences).

In memory of my dear grand-child Anne Bradstreet.
Who deceased June 20. 1669. being three years and seven Moneths old.

by Anne Bradstreet

With troubled heart & trembling hand I write, 1
The Heavens have chang'd to sorrow my delight.
How oft with disappointment have I met,
When I on fading things my hopes have set?
Experience might 'fore this have made me wise, 5
To value things according to their price:
Was ever stable joy yet found below?
Or perfect bliss without mixture of woe.
I knew she was but as a withering flour,
That's here to day, perhaps gone in an hour; 10
Like as a bubble, or the brittle glass,
Or like a shadow turning as it was.
More fool then I to look on that was lent,
As if mine own, when thus impermanent.
Farewel dear child, thou ne're shall come to me, 15
But yet a while, and I shall go to thee;
Mean time my throbbing heart's chear'd up with this
Thou with thy Savior art in endless bliss.

Original Source: The Works of Anne Bradstreet in Prose and Verse. Edited by John Harvard Ellis. (Charlestown: A. E. Cutter, 1867)