Anne Bradstreet's The Flesh and the Spirit Essay

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Anne Bradstreet's The Flesh and the Spirit

"The Flesh and the Spirit" by Anne Bradstreet is basically a conversation between two "sisters"--the worldly body and the spiritual soul. Their heated argument concerns the value of life and what really matters in our human lives. The Flesh, who presents her side first, argues that the world offers pleasure, wealth, and fame to those who readily partake. Satisfaction for her is found in the reality of earthly possessions and the fulfillment of her desires. The Spirit, on the other hand, finds her true satisfaction in God and stores up eternal treasures in Heaven. Their sisterhood is an ongoing battle that ends in ultimate separation.

The following is an excerpt from the whole poem in which
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She sees the Flesh as her enemy &endash; the exact opposite of herself. And here she states that she will "combat" the Flesh until she has victory over her. "Laid in th' dust" suggests that the Flesh will die completely, which is the only way the Spirit can ultimately live.

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The Spirit affirms that they are twin sisters. However, they cannot agree because they do not have the same father. The Flesh's father is Adam (or the world), which signifies the separation from God when man sinned for the first time. The Spirit's father is the Heavenly Father. But, although they pledge their love to separate fathers, they are indefinitely united by having the same mother. And this means that they are linked as the same soul. They cannot be separated. They are closer than mere acquaintances; they are family…they are sisters.

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Here the Spirit acknowledges the clever words and deceptions that the Flesh uses to tempt her. The Flesh flatters her with "shews" (archaic for "shows") and nice words, but deep down really despises her.

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In these lines, the Spirit confesses that she has fallen into the trap of the Flesh time and time again. Because she believed the lies that her sister told her, she became a "slave" to the desires of the world. The Spirit vows to not let the charming words of the Flesh fool her anymore, and then she boldly declares that the temptations of the
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