"To My Dear And Loving Husband" and "Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th, 1666" by Anne Bradstreet serve as an introduction to a Puritan world view, as well as to some of the earliest values of the United States.
As one of the first poets of the nation, Bradstreet’s ideas on love, life, materialism, and the afterlife reflect many popular views of her era.
This resource includes:
--a pre- and post-reading writing prompt to get students thinking about themes
--copies of both poems with engaging graphics
--questions on both poems that encourage close reading and literary analysis
--answer keys for all questions
--prompts for longer writing assignments and assessment
This lesson is aimed at an honors or AP level class. Lower level classes may struggle with some of the older language. Still, with more direction—by taking them through the poem and asking them to focus on specific words and phrases—they will gain a sufficient understanding of the text.
These poems could be taught in a unit on early American Literature, including texts such as “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” They could also be taught with books written later about the Puritan era, such as The Scarlet Letter or The Crucible. Texts that deal with love and materialism including The Great Gatsby and The Death of a Salesman would also be good matches.