Anne Bradstreet was perhaps the first established poet to voyage to the new world from England. In her poem “In Reference To Her Children”, expresses the love and sadness experienced throughout life raising her children and her devotion towards her everlasting reward. Anne Bradstreet was very proud that she raised good children and instilled them with religious and moral values. Anne says, “I had eight birds hatched in one nest” (1). This infers that she might have raised her children mostly by herself.
Bradstreet proves her pride and relentless efforts to raise good children when she states, “I nursed them up with pain and care, Nor cost, nor labour did I spare” (4). She’s trying to express her love for her children, even though sometimes it hurt her to use disciplinary action on them. She wanted to make sure that they grew up knowing that there are consequences for their actions. During her poem Anne Bradstreet expresses her internal conflict with “empty nest syndrome. ” “Chief of the brood then took his flight,” (7) suggests that
Anne’s oldest son had boarded a boat and sailed somewhere far away. “My mournful chirps I after send, till he return, or I do end,” (9) shows the beginning of her internal struggle with loneliness as she is awaiting his return. At this moment, Anne has realized that her children are now growing and beginning to move out of the “nest. ” They are no longer dependent on her to survive. She is struggling to trust that they will survive in life with what she has taught them. Two of her children leave the “nest” for marriage. One “flew” to the academy to attend college.
One “Is ‘mongst the shrubs and bushes flown,” (34) suggests that her fifth child became a forest ranger. With five of her children gone from home she felt as if part of her was missing, however she still had three children that remained in the nest. The pride and joy Bradstreet has for her children’s success increases as she watches them move out, but so does her loneliness. When reading Anne Bradstreet’s poem you can’t help but notice how much she brags about her children and their success. Anne watches each of her children until they are out of sight and waits to see which direction they disappear to.
Bradstreet feels more and more empty and lonely after each of her children flies away, however she looks forward to the day that she can watch over them from heaven. In conclusion, Anne Bradstreet wanted her readers to feel the love she had for her children. Anne expressed her love and feelings throughout the poem in every way that she could. After Anne’s long struggle to let go of her children subsided and she left the nest in the end, Anne was rewarded with everlasting life and could watch over her children from heaven.