“The author to her book” is a poem written by Anne Bradstreet in the 17th century. The poem revolves around the narrator’s baby which seems to be a personification for a book or collection of poems she has written. The flaws that the narrator sees in her work of literature are portrayed by a series of metaphors and similes in relation to her baby throughout the poem.
The speaker in the poem appears to be the “mother”, alternatively the author of the collections of poem or the book, of the baby is a personification of. In the first line “Thou ill form’d offspring of my feeble brain” the speaker refers to themselves stating “my brain” also claiming the “offspring” as their own stating it was from their brain. In the final stanza the speaker asserts that “if for thy father askt,say, thou hadst none: And for thy Mother, she alas is poor”, here the speaker refers to the mother in the third person however it is still possible to assume that the mother is in fact the speaker in the poem as she claims that the child had no father and that she is the creator of the offspring. The poem is written in iambic pentameter and consists of only three sentences it is nonetheless relatively long. It moves at a relatively fast speed and all lines apart from line 19-22 rhyme in the form A-A,B-B and so on.Order now
Literally the poem tells the story of a mother whose child is “snatch” from her side and then is exposed to the public view. The child is severally flawed from being “made…in raggs, halting” and “blemished”. The child is however a personification of the mothers work of literature which presumable was published without her consent, this becomes apparent when the speaker states it was “snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true”. It is possible to detect that the child is just a trope for the work of literature partly due to the fact that the mother states that the offspring is from her brain, rather than her reproductive organs. Additionally it is possible to presume that the child is just a trope from the line “my rambling brat (in print)” where the speaker states that the child is in fact in print.
The poem consist mostly of metaphors and similes all showing how flawed the child, or work of literature, is. The mother says “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 bobbling”. No matter how much the speaker tries to improve her work of literature she still feels that it is flawed. She compares this to a child whose face is dirty however when washed of it is still not immaculate. The mother says “In better dress to trim thee was my mind, but nought save home-spun cloth, i’th’ house I find”, even though the mother wishes to dress the child better she does not have enough cloth to do so which could be an attempt from the speaker to describe that no matter how she tried to improve her work of literature she was incapable of doing so because she did not have the necessary means to do so.
The poem is written in iambic pentameter and rhymes at all but four sentences. The rhyming creates a faster pace for the poem it also gives the poem a less sad or even desperate feel to it which is otherwise maintained by the harsh criticism the mother offers herself when saying that no matter how hard she tried she did not manage to improve child so she “cast thee by as one unfit for light” this creates a state of synaestesia where the reader feels both sorrowful for the mother who is ashamed of her child but through the rhymes not too somber.
In the last couplet the speaker states “And for thy Mother, she alas is poor, which caus’d her thus to send thee out the door”. This line suggests that the speaker allowed her work of literature to be published to some extent which is contradictory to what she suggested earlier in the poem. It states that the mother is poor however this sentence could both by literally and figuratively. Literally it could mean that the speaker had too little money to get by and therefore she felt compelled to allow her work of literature to be published even though she did not feel that it was “fit for light”. Figuratively however it could mean that her mind was too poor which is what cause her to “send thee out the door”, the door however metaphorically describing the act of dismissing something due to being ashamed of it.
Throughout the poem the speaker criticizes her child starting from the first line where she states that it was created from her “feeble brain”, giving the impression that her mind was too weak to create something good, down to the end of the poem where the speaker states that “‘mongst vulgars mayst thou roam”, presumably feeling that her piece of literature is not worthy of anything classier.
Using examples of normal troubles with children such as them having dirtied their face, or wearing tawdry clothing, Anne Bradstreet manages to portray the flaws in her piece of literature; however when it is normally possible to solve the problems with children by for example washing their face or switching their clothing, the speaker in the poem finds herself incapable of doing so and so the poem can be seen as a form of self criticism.