Author to Her Book

“The Author to Her Book” Essay
The poem, “The Author to Her Book,” was written after the publication of Anne Bradstreet’s first book and provides a look at how she felt about being published without her permission. Bradstreet uses the brilliant conceit of a child to show her personal thoughts on her work in a rather judging manner. In the poem “The Author to Her Book,” Anne Bradstreet uses the controlling metaphor of a baby being born and cared for by its mother to express the speaker’s complex attitude and feelings toward their book. As the poem progresses, it is seen how the attitude of the speaker toward their “child” shifts from insecurity and regret, to pride and love, and finally to remorse and acceptance.
The first thing to understand about the conceit of the child is that the speaker’s book is a reflection of how she sees herself. The “child” is ill-formed and has flaws, which represent what the speaker sees as imperfections within herself. The speaker is embarrassed and ashamed of the flaws in the book because they are the offspring of her own “feeble brain” and in turn the errors are errors of her own. She is so insecure that she considers them “unfit for light.” In the line: “Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,” the speaker holds a tone of anger not only because someone took her “child” without permission, but also because she is scared of what people will think of her “child” and of her. The fear of judgment that the speaker has, comes from the insecurity she has in her “child” and herself.
      The speaker’s tone is that of regret when the “child” is returned to her after many have seen and judged it, so she tries to make it better. She attempts to “wash’d thy face” but only manages, in the speakers opinion, to make it worse. Washing the child, rubbing off blemishes, and stretching its joints seem to fail to improve upon the flaws of the “child.” The speaker is desperately trying to make everything perfect and raise the...