Critical Review: “My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet
The poem “My Dear and Loving Husband” was written in the mid-seventeenth century by Anne Bradstreet. Anne was the first published American author and a woman, though she was not born in America. She was born in England and sailed to Massachusetts and lived there as a part of the early colonists. When reading this poem I began consider the historical side of the Bradstreet’s work within the as well as the side of me that favored her as a woman writing about her love for her husband. So I found myself writing critical approaches using biographical criticism, and feminist criticism.
In this poem Anne Bradstreet speaks as herself. This creates a direct impact upon the reader as a third party considering the love between her and her husband. When reading this poem the speaker uses metaphors like “I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold, Or all the riches that the East doth hold” (Bradstreet lines 5 & 6). This tells the reader that all the riches in the world could not compare to her love for her husband. To me, that is saying a lot. Living in the colonies during this time period was very hard and in these lines the speaker says that all the riches in the world could not make her leave his side. It also shows how in this time period the love and support for one’s spouse was the greatest of all treasures. Bradstreet goes on in the poem to use words like “we” instead of me showing that one cannot exist without the other. Once again this was not usual for this time period. Women were raised to be subordinate to their husbands. In this I believe that the speaker shows how their love is a mutual one, how she alone cannot imagine a life or even death without him but that he shares in her feelings.
After reading the lesson and the poem several times it was obvious to me that feminist criticism would be something to write about. Not because Bradstreet was held back in anyway but because she seemed to be very confident in herself, her love for her husband and her writing. As I mentioned before, she was the first published American poet in a time where not only was it uncommon for women to write poetry but even more so to have it published. That is also the reason I believe biographical criticism fits well with this poem. She appears to have been a remarkable woman and I enjoyed reading this poem and doing research on her.