The Strong Puritan Women: Mary Rowlandson And Anne Bradstreet

During the 17th century, the everyday life of many people was based heavily on religious practices. It is also why many Puritan writings had examples of religious themes or introduced the discussion of certain characteristics and events from a religious perspective. Two women during the 17th century that were strong puritan writers are Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson. Bradstreet and Ronaldson writings reflected the main features of puritan writing; the writings consisted of personal experiences concentrating on personal spiritual growth and the role God has played in their lives. Although both these women’s writings differ in style and approach, these authors assert that religion and its focus on relief, assistance, and hope will help them overcome seemingly impossible challenges.

It was viewed that Puritans had very strict lives and guidelines to follow regarding religion but, Puritans were thrilled at the thought of receiving God’s assistance and blessing. In a puritan point of view, any challenge is perceived as a test on their reliance on God. These same ideas can be seen in Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson writing as puritans. Although Ronaldson and Bradstreet had very different life experiences and knowledge, the two authors had very similar views and discussions on survival experiences and the personal suffering a person is put through with references to their own beliefs. Even though the details of the two writers are completely different, many similarities can be found when examining Bradstreet and Rowlandson reactions to the experiences they were challenged with. The life of the two women can be associated with the need to survive when faced with dangerous conditions.

The life experiences between the two writers should be examined and discussed from many perspectives. The knowledge that Bradstreet and Ronaldson possessed can be viewed as similar in the way both women found hope in their religion even while coping with the suffering of their circumstances. Bradstreet and Rowlandson’s writings differ in style and mood Bradstreet writing is more focused on hope and blessing and Rowlandson is more thorough with her experience and she also provides a conclusion. However, the two authors writings have similar characteristics in the way the puritans think about the proclamation of God’s love, mercy, and will.

In the writing a letter “To My Dear Children”, Bradstreet explains her personal life in stories that inform us that children are not just to be looked as a burden but that children are a gift from God’s grace in a person’s life. According to Bradstreet, all the problems in her life which were related to illness and deaths of family was overcome because she relied on Gods assistance. Bradstreet assures the children that what they asked from god is heard, “I have had great experiences of God’s hearing my Prayers and returning comfortable Answers to me” (Bradstreet “To My Dear Children” 247). Bradstreet also says to her children, “If at any time you are chastened of God, take it as thankfully and Joyfully as in greatest mercies, for if ye be his ye shall reap the greatest benefit by it” (Bradstreet “To My Dear Children” 247). Bradstreet expresses her religion to always be thankful no matter what and always hope for a better life from God.

The tragic events in Bradstreet’s life are depicted by the role god played in helping her overcome challenges. Even though most of the events stated in Bradstreet’s writings were negative, the poem is full of faith. Thus, Bradstreet repeats several times that god makes her stronger, “And to my God, my heart did cry To straighten me in my Distress And not to leave me succourlesse” (Bradstreet “Upon the Burning of our House” line 49). Additionally, Bradstreet states materialistic things is all created from Gods work, Bradstreet believes Gods mercy is more important than worrying on if you have materialistic things, “A Prise so vast as is unknown, Yet, by his Gift, is made thine own. Ther's wealth enough, I need no more; Farewell my Pelf, farewell my Store” (Bradstreet “Upon the Burning of Our House” line 49). The author has such a strong connection with her faith in God that she reflects on her spiritual path and how she has grown so much.

Rowlandson is also faced with challenges of unfairness in her life, and these tragic experiences can be seen in her writings such as “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson”. The major similarity between Bradstreet and Rowlandson is that both the authors use gods will and grace to explain their feelings. As a result of, at each stage of her experience being held imprisoned by the Wampanoag, Rowlandson explains it was through the faith of God and his mercy she overcame all the challenges including the death of her child. Rowlandson explains that “God was with me in a wonderful manner, carrying me along, and bearing up my spirit, that it did not quite fall” ( “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration” Rowlandson 272 ) This shows us, any circumstance that was thrown at her while she was in captivity could not make her lose her faith. Furthermore, the fact that Rowlandson had faith she could use it as strength to overcome challenges and barriers. “the Lord upheld me with His gracious and merciful spirit, and we were both alive to see the light of the next morning”.

From this point, Rowlandson, as well as Bradstreet, rely on gods will and assistance significantly, and this believe of god having their backs helps the writers have faith even when faced with difficult circumstances. Rowlandson supports her discussion about captivity as God’s destiny or a test for her, Rowlandson refers to bible verses for her source of knowledge (“A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration” Rowlandson 272). Puritans are supposed to believe Any challenge that is thrown at them should be Gods lesson which can educate a person. Bradstreet and Rowlandson believe in gods Judgement so much that they believe all the tragic events such as fire and loss of the house, illness, and the death of family as trails placed by God. The writers feel only true believers can overcome these trails, the puritan believes of spiritual healing and self-examination support the idea.

It is typical for writers to represent their personal experiences in the form of writing that is why the approach that Bradstreet and Rowlandson take is not unique. Furthermore, following puritan writing, God is the main character in the authors writing because he played a role in the authors lives. As a result, Bradstreet and Rowlandson had very similar themes and ideas in their writings. Life changes and sufferings made these women stronger. Moreover, the faith that is present in their writings provides them hope. As a result, writers can share their personal experience while also focusing on religious practices. With the description Rowlandson gives about her captivity, she concentrates on God’s will.

Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson writings are different in Stylistic approach and mood, but they are also similar in the main idea and theme. Both writers evaluate their personal experience while relying on religious development. While evaluating The discussion of personal sufferings between the two writers, the authors reveal the idea that God is the only person that can help them overcome life difficulties Furthermore, Bradstreet and Rowlandson's knowledge is very similar in puritan thinking and tradition, this is very evident in the writings. According to the writers, every situation they are put through should be a lesson from god it should be used for spiritual growth and improvement.  

16 December 2021
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