Anne Bradstreet was a well educated puritan woman. As such she tried to raise her voice and stand for the rights of women. Literarily raising her voice would bring her nothing, so she tried to express her self through poetry. Puritans didn’t consider women worthy of dealing with any “serious” topics in their literary works and claimed any good piece written by a woman was either stolen or written by chance. Anne was aware of all the norms and in the “Prologue” she starts with a sort of disclaimer, apparently admitting that writing about captains, wars, kings and similar is beyond her. She tries to make it look as she believes that those are to serious topics for a woman.
This could have been simply a way to ensure people would read her poetry, but it could have also been a criticism towards society. She continues reminding everyone about inequality between man and woman and apparent favoring of man only because of their gender. She tries to remind everyone that by being a woman she is not less worthy than any man. She argues that it is unfair that some claim a needle is more fitting for a woman and tries to prove people wrong by writing good poetry. But soon in her poem she remembers that man won’t believe a good poem to have been written by a woman, so she simply asks for some credit hoping people would change their minds. According to some reports most of her work was never published but she shared it among her family and friends.
This seems to be a religious poem and it was written by a woman of African-American descent. It appears that this woman is trying to god at first but then accepts to simply do what God demand from her and hope to gain reward in the afterlife. She accepts that her life is not completely in her own hands and hopes that God will guide her. She hopes to be rewarded and spared from falls joys as she says it in her poem. Phillis Wheatly was a slave and was taught to read and write by the family that owned her. Religion played a huge role in her life. The slave owners would convert all the slaves to Christianity as it made it easier to control them. Also it was easier for slaves to accept their “destiny” as Christianity promises reward in the afterlife to those who were humble and who lived in accordance to God’s laws. In the poem we see that for a moment Phillis wonders wheter that is the life that God wants her to live, but quite soon she decides to leave it all in the hands of God as a good Christian should.