Materials:

Copies of "The Author To Her Book", "To My Dear and Loving Husband," "Verses Upon the Burning of Our House,"and "A Night When Others Soundly Slept;" paper, pens and pencils.

Objectives:

  • The student will critically analyze a text to gain meaning by:
    • interpreting the effect of figures of speech
    • analyzing stylistic features such as word choice
    • demonstrating how literary works reflect the culture that shaped them
Procedures:

1. For homework the previous night, ask students to find a copy of the lyrics to their favorite song to bring into the class for discussion.

2. At the beginning of class, ask each student to read his/her lyrics aloud for class discussion. Ask each student: What appeals to you about this song? What do you think the lyrics mean? Do you notice anything about the writing style of the author? What do you learn about the world around you from this song?

3. Introduce Anne Bradstreet, explaining that:

  • Bradstreet lived from 1612-1672
  • She was the first English-speaking poet in North America
  • Bradstreet was a Puritan and her poetry reflected her beliefs that worldly pleasures were vain and that true Christians resigned themselves to God's will.
  • The majority of her work was published after her death. (Source: "Anne Bradstreet." Anthology of American Literature.)
4. Introduce the following poetic devices, either on an overhead or with a handout, from the Poets.org "Poetry Glossary" :

  • rhyme: correspondence of terminal sounds of words or of lines of verse
  • hyperbole: exaggeration for emphasis (the opposite of understatement)
  • simile: comparison between two essentially unlike things using words such as "like," as," or "as though"
  • imagery: word or sequence of words representing a sensory experience (visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, and gustatory)
5. Ask students to read the poems in their groups and to identify:

  • The message of the poem
  • Any evidence of Bradstreet's beliefs or values
  • Any of the poetic devices introduced above
6. Each group should present their poem and their analysis to the class.

7. For homework, each student should compose his or her own poem, using one of Bradstreet's works as a model. The students may simply substitute their own words in an existing Bradstreet poem to convey their own message. A brief explanation of each poem should accompany each assignment.

Evaluation:

Students should be monitored during group work for participation and comprehension. Group presentations can be evaluated for accuracy and participation. The student homework can be evaluated for completion.

Resources:

"Anne Bradstreet." Anthology of American Poetry, Ninth Edition, Volume 1. Upper Saddle River:
Pearson, 2007.

"Anne Bradstreet." PoetryFoundation.org. 2009. Poetry Foundation.19 July 2009.
www.poetryfoundation.org.

"Anne Bradstreet." Poets.org. 2009. Academy of American Poets. 19 July 2009.
www.poets.org.

Non-profit Tax ID # 203478467