Bradstreets Views Towards Male Dominance Essay, Research Paper
Bradstreet s views toward Male-Dominance
As a female in a highly patriarchal society, Bradstreet expresses her feelings using a clever technique called reverse psychology to prove her point, her disapproval of her community s belief of unequal treatment and prejudice against women. Bradstreet believes that women are treated unfairly in her society, regarding gender as insignificant. She faces many conflicts and struggles in her Prologue , expressing her opinion towards women s rights, implying that gender is unimportant and male-dominance is wrong.
The Prologue has a humble tone and hidden surprises. In addition to reverse psychology, Bradstreet uses apologetic tone, drawing the reader in, forming interest for the reader to read her poems despite the fact that she is a female. In the beginning, she talks about wars , captains , and epics , specifically written by brilliant male writers, worrying that her poems will shame the art of poetry: My obscure writings shall not so dim their worth (stanza 1, line 6). Later, in continuation of her self-demotion and apologetic tone, she talks about the Great Writer Bartas, admiring his works, and sarcastically admitting that she will never be as talented as he is: A Bartas can do what a Bartas will / But simple I according to my skill (stanza 2, lines 11-12). The sarcasm in these lines cause the typical reader of the poem to reconsider that perhaps women are not as bad as Bradstreet portrays them to be, exactly the thought she has schemed for the reader to think.
Continuing, Bradstreet mentions regret for her lack of skill, in which she laments the fact that A weak or wounded brain admits no cure (stanza 4, line 24). As the reader proceeds reading, Bradstreet discusses the prejudice against women, knowing that if she expresses her true feelings, no one will look at her poem. Therefore, she says:
I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
Who says my hand a needle better fits,
A poet s pen all scorn I should thus wrong,
For such despite they cast on female wits:
If what I do prove well, it won t advance,
They ll say it s stol n, or else it was by chance. (Stanza 5, lines 25-30), implying that she despises anyone who thinks that women are better as housewives, and that if their work proves well , men will say it is stolen or is by chance , explaining the unfair treatment of women. Following, she mentions the Greeks as appreciative of women, blaming the current society for the manipulation of women:
But sure the antique Greeks were far more mild
Else of our sex, why feigned they those nine
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So mongst the rest they place the arts divine:
But this knot they [they is the patriarchal society] will full soon untie (stanza 6, line31-32, 34-35).
She says that the Greeks had less arguments on women s rights and were more peaceful, contrasting it to the current values of society, namely that the Greeks are wrong and women are inferior.
Bradstreet uses sarcasm to express her emotions toward the male-dominant society, saying that men are eternally correct, and women inferior to them. She sarcastically says that men are better than women, implying the exact opposite, that women are, in fact, equal in ability:
Men can do best, and women know it well
Preeminence in all and each is yours [yours refers to men]
Yet grant some acknowledgment of ours (stanza 7, lines 40-42),
She ends by stating that she does not think that her work is worth a critic s time, telling us that although she thinks women are not inferior, she can not do anything about it, her works making men s glist ring gold [work] but more to shine.
Bradstreet is a very talented poet, interesting, sarcastic and brilliant. She uses different tones, moods and sarcasm to bring her poetry into life, giving a vivid, clearly worded image of what she wants us to know, a strikingly radical notion that her writing could be as competent as any male s.