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“Upon Burning of Our House” Poem by Anne Bradstreet Essay

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Updated: Aug 13th, 2022

Anne Bradstreet is a 17th-century puritan poet. In the poem “Upon Burning of our House,” she “shows her total belief in God, even in times of the destruction of their property” (Alkhafaji and Al-Rashid 84). Truly enough, in the poem, Bradstreet writes: “Thou hast a house on high erect / Fram’d by that mighty Architect, / With glory richly furnished / Stands permanent, though this be fled.” (Bradstreet, lines 43-46). By opposing her burnt house to the permanent home of beliefs, she says that the spiritual wealth she receives from God cannot be compared with the earthly wealth.

Then Anne Bradstreet writes: “There’s wealth enough; I need no more. / Farewell, my pelf; farewell, my store.” (Bradstreet, lines 51-52). Therefore, the author claims that although she believes in God and does not doubt his existence, she admits that he has a right to take away what was given to her for storing. However, she describes her feeling terrible about the burnt home and asks God not to give her another earthly wealth, not to experience the same pain when He decides to take this away again. Anne Bradstreet refuses God’s gifts which are not supposed to but destroy her life.

Angry God in Jonathan Edwards’s Sermon

Jonathan Edwards is also a puritan writer, but of the 18th-century. While analyzing his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” scholars mention that “Jonathan Edwards repeatedly represents God as an unyielding “Mediator” who will not withhold His wrath or judgment. Edwards continually stresses that anyone who has not secured his or her spot in glory is awaiting eternal damnation.” (DiMatties 1). This citation provides readers with a clear vision of how Edwards shapes God: as powerful and angry with those who did not deserve glory, with “wicked men.”

In his sermon, Edwards represents God as a spider ready to burn “wicked men” because of their disbelief. The author writes: “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you” (Edwards 6). By this, he encourages people to believe in God, trying to fear them. He says: “You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment.” (Edwards 6). This citation from the sermon means that people who do not believe in God, those “wicked men,” do not deserve to be saved because they offended God.

The Topic of God’s Will in Two Works

Although Anne Bradstreet and Jonathan Edwards are both puritans, they represent God in different ways: powerful, able to take away everything He gave, and angry at those who do not believe in Him. Thus, the topic of God’s will is explored differently in these two literary works. Anne Bradstreet saw the will of God as the desire to give people trials, watching them struggle over His gifts. As for Jonathan Edwards, he pictured God’s will as a prosecution of the “wicked men” (because of their disbelief) and as an attempt to burn them and sent them to hell.

Works Cited

Alkhafaji Weam Majeed, and Entidhar Hamzah Al-Rashid. “American Puritan Elegy: Biblical Sources in Anne Bradstreet’s Poems.” The Islamic College University Journal 2.54 (2019).

Bradstreet, Anne. 1666. Poetry Foundation.

DiMatties, Caralyn. “One God and Three Persons.” (2020).

Edwards, Jonathan. 1741. International Outreach, Inc.

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IvyPanda. "“Upon Burning of Our House” Poem by Anne Bradstreet." August 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/upon-burning-of-our-house-poem-by-anne-bradstreet/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "“Upon Burning of Our House” Poem by Anne Bradstreet." August 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/upon-burning-of-our-house-poem-by-anne-bradstreet/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) '“Upon Burning of Our House” Poem by Anne Bradstreet'. 13 August.

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