"Imperfections- an Explication of "An Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet"

Essay by ChristineSHigh School, 12th grade March 2005

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I've included the full text of the poem as well as my explication of it. Enjoy!

The Author to Her Book

by Anne Bradstreet

Thou ill-form'd offspring of my feeble brain,

Who after birth did'st by my side remain,

Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,

Who thee abroad expos'd to public view,

Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,

Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).

At thy return my blushing was not small,

My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.

I cast thee by as one unfit for light,

Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight,

Yet being mine own, at length affection would

Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.

I wash'd thy face, but more defects I saw,

And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.

I stretcht thy joints to make thee even feet,

Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet.

In better dress to trim thee was my mind,

But nought save home-spun Cloth, i' th' house I find.

In this array, 'mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.

In Critics' hands, beware thou dost not come,

And take thy way where yet thou art not known.

If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none;

And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,

Which caus'd her thus to send thee out of door.


        As shown in "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet, perfectionism is not a new phenomenon. The speaker of the poem uses diction, imagery, and tone to display her insecurities about, and dislike of, her own work, resulting from the human imperfections that have created an inadequate piece of literature.

        The choice of words in this poem reveals that while admitting a close and intimate relationship with it,