Metaphor in The Author to Her Book

Metaphor Examples in The Author to Her Book :

The Author to Her Book 6

"vulgars ..."   (The Author to Her Book)

With a book so flawed and unrefined, the speaker insinuates that its readers must be “vulgars,” or people lacking sophistication or taste. As such, the book is doomed to “roam,” or circulate, around a lower echelon of readers since people of finer sophistication would be quick to notice its flaws or failings.

"homespun cloth..."   (The Author to Her Book)

This line extends the clothing metaphor. The speaker now views her book-child as plain and lacking, dressed only in “homespun cloth.” This line connects to the previous reference “rags,” because books in the 1600s were made with varying ratios of cotton and pulp. The speaker’s comparison of homespun cloth may suggest either that her book has been printed on cheap, low-quality paper, or, conversely, that the language used is plain or barren, much to her dissatisfaction. Since Puritan ideology states that luxury or sensual pleasures are sinful temptations that harm the path to God, this line appears strangely at odds with Bradstreet’s Puritan beliefs: she despairs the lack of adornment or decoration present in the work of her published volume.

"trim..."   (The Author to Her Book)

This is another example of double meaning. In the practice of sewing, the verb “to trim” means to apply ornament or embellishment to either clothing or furniture. When applying this meaning to writing, to trim a book may mean to add further ornamental detail or language. From this line, we see that the author had wished to “trim” her book in better dress, or to add further detail before publication, but was prohibited from doing so.

"amend..."   (The Author to Her Book)

The verb to amend means to make changes or improvements, often within a written text. Its use here is yet another example of language that can be used to refer to a book and to a child. In this context, the speaker aims to amend the already-published text in much the same way as one would attempt to clean a grubby child. However, the book is already published, and the speaker finds her attempts ultimately fruitless.

"trudge..."   (The Author to Her Book)

The verb “to trudge” can mean walking slowly with heavy steps, often due to exhaustion or reluctance. Here, the use of “trudge” suggests that the book was reluctant to be published in its current state. By projecting such emotions onto the book, the speaker further personifies it as an ill-kept child, unready for the outside world.

"offspring..."   (The Author to Her Book)

Notice that Bradstreet uses conventional gender roles from her time period in order to create an extended metaphor comparing her book to a child. In 17th-century Puritan society, women’s duty in society was primarily to bear and raise children. Here, Bradstreet conceptualizes her book as a child in order to express her close relationship with her work, its importance, and also to frame her argument in terms that her audience might understand.