The poem “Upon the Burning of Our House” by Anne Bradstreet is a sorrowful story of an eventful night when the narrator goes to bed hoping for nothing bad to happen. However, in the course of the night, she is awakened by the noise and screams of fire; her house was on fire, and she could do nothing but cry to God to intervene and help her. What follows are lines of lamentations by the narrator asserting that everything she owned was God’s and thus he has the right to give and take (Gale 4). The lyrics within the poem demonstrate a vivid connection between privacy and universality. This response paper explores Bradstreet’s poem to show how the relationship between privacy and universality has emerged in the poem.
How the poem has created a link between the burning house and something that transcends the event
Aspects of privacy and universality have been widely portrayed throughout the entire poem. The poem has created a link between privacy and universality by showing how the life of the narrator is suddenly changed by the fire that burns her house down and since she cannot stop the fire, she cries to God for help (Gale 6). Privacy has been depicted in how the author laments her fallen house. She is sad that all the wealth she had gathered God took it suddenly through the burning fire. The narrator portrays a somber mood throughout the poem. Some of the instances can be seen in line 8 “And to my God my heart did cry” and line 22 “My sorrowing eyes aside did cast.” These lines depict the feelings and experienced by the narrator on seeing her house and possessions reduced to dust. According to mark strand, Privacy entails the inner feelings and experiences that are portrayed in poetry (Strand xxii). Therefore, line 8 and 22 show the feelings that the narrator has towards her possessions that have been burnt (Gale 12). On the other hand, the link between the event and universality can be seen when the narrator realizes she is helpless and turns to God for help in line 8. Usually, when human beings find challenges that are beyond their control, people turn to God for help believing that he is the one giving and taking as depicted in the line; “I blest His name that gave and took” (line 14).
How the poem make its subject matter accessible to the reader
There is a strong connection between the poem and daily lives within the contemporary society. Many people within the contemporary society lose their possessions and become sorrowful because they cannot control accidents. When such kinds of accidents happen, people usually become sad and cry to God to help them as depicted in the following lines;
And to my God my heart did cry,
To straighten me in my Distress,
And not to leave me succourless. (8-10).
The use of language to control and transform the event in the poem
The poet has used narrative prose to unveil the thoughts in her mind as she watched her house burn. She has also used simple language rhymes in the poem to make it easy to understand and memorable. Furthermore, the poet has ignored grammatical rules to make the poem rhyme. Also, the choice of words is crucial as they have helped in transforming the event into a sorrowful one (Gale 13).
In conclusion, the poem “Upon the Burning of Our House” has depicted instances of privacy and universality through how the narrator connects her feelings for personal possessions and lamentations to God for help. The poem relates to daily experiences of people’s personal experience and their universal relationship with God.