"To My Dear and Loving Husband"
Explore in detail your response to certain words, phrases, or images (tell what they are!); your response to the genre of love/marriage poetry; your response to how the 17th century and Puritan context affect this poem; and your personal identification with the poet's situation and emotions
How would you characterize Bradstreet's feelings about her marriage? How much do you think your response reflects your own experience? Remember that hyperbolic metaphors were quite common in poetry at the time. Try to separate that poetic technique from her genuine complex--and even conflicting--emotions for her husband.
Bradstreet wrote a number of private poems to her husband, including this one and "A Letter to Her Husband." Read that and consider how the poems reinforce and even debate each other.
Note possible directions for further analyzing and interpreting the poem and any other thoughts or comparisons that have occurred to you while reading this material.
Final questions to consider:
Do you see in this poetry unresolved conflicts between her inner feelings and the doctrines of Puritan orthodoxy and ideas about marriage?
How important is the simplicity of diction that distinguishes this love poem? How is the effect of a rich poem achieved by the unself-conscious blending of fanciful imagery and forceful, declarative statements?