Anne Bradstreet A Firm But Farewell Speech

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A Firm but Loving Farewell According to a 2015 estimate by the CIA, the maternal mortality rate today is only 14 deaths per 100,000 live births (“World Factbook”). In other words, a mother has a 99.9986% chance of surviving childbirth—a risk so small and negligible. This was certainly not the case for the Puritans of early America, who did not enjoy access to the sanitation standards and medical technology of today. Considering that most Puritan mothers gave birth to as many as eight children, thereby multiplying their risk, one in eight of them died of “exhaustion, dehydration, infection, hemorrhage, or convulsions” (“Childbirth in Early America”). For many of these women, these deaths were not just possibilities; they became a reality—a source of apprehension and superstition during pregnancies. Anne Bradstreet, a notable Puritan poet, jeopardized her life by bearing eight children (Baym and Levine). Throughout the poem “Before the Birth of One of Her Children,” Anne Bradstreet plainly and honestly regards maternal fatality as a reality rather than a possibility through her acceptance of it as a means of physical agony and separation, her personal request to her husband to remember her as a virtuous person and to take care of her children, and the comfort she provides in her supposedly last words. To begin with, Bradstreet portrays childbirth death in a concrete manner through her acceptance of it as a means of physical agony and separation. She employs a scriptural

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