Analysis of "Verses Upon the Burning of Our House"

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“Verses Upon the Burning of Our House” The speaker in Anne Bradstreet’s poem “Verses Upon the Burning of Our House” is grappling with a Puritan issue of spirituality. She develops the internal struggle between one’s love of earthly concerns and one’s faithfulness to God. Her use of various descriptive terms allows the reader to visualize the physical burning and the meaning of the speaker’s house both in Heaven and on earth. At the beginning of the poem the “thund’ring noise / [a]nd [the] piteous shrieks of [a] dreadful voice” wakes the speaker from a peaceful sleep (Bradstreet 3-4). This indicates that the speaker was not expecting such a horrid, shocking awakening during her slumber because Puritans believe that one should always be attentive and vigilant. In this case she puts all of her faith in God and sleeps. Bradstreet capitalizes words like “Desire” (6) and “Distress” (9) to emphasize the speaker’s strong emotions. As a devout Puritan, both Bradstreet and the speaker, the speaker prays that God will see them through even in times of distress. Even if the house is burned to ashes she is hopeful that a “sufficient … [amount of necessities will be] left” by God for her family (20). The use of the word “sufficient” gives a hopeful tone to the poem which contrasts with her anguish of putting God before inanimate objects (20). She “chides” (37) for even placing the briefest value of “thy wealth on earth” (38). While it is difficult to accept the loss of her house, she knows that true wealth is not on this earth. She is confident that true wealth, “hope and Treasure lies above” in Heaven (54). She makes a point that her wealth and treasure is going to be in Heaven rather than on earth. Bradstreet indicates that the speaker’s “house [was built] … / by that mighty Architect” (43-44). The “house” is the soul of a just person who wants to live a life that is meant
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