Baca Vs. Bradstreet Comparative Essay: Baca vs. Bradstreet In Jimmy Santiago Baca’s poem entitled I, and Anne Bradstreet’s Verses Upon the Burning of Her House, both write about their dreadful experience of the burning of their homes. But the way in which each of the poets express this occurrence, with the use of different styles of imagery and the diction, can change the way the reader interprets the poem. The tone used by each poet is critical because it indicates to the reader their emotions. Therefore, by comparing these poems of Baca and Bradstreet, it will be evident that these elements of writing: tone, diction, and imagery; are crucial factors that will affect the way a reader perceives a poem.
By analyzing the tones of these poems, one can see that they are virtually opposite. In Baca’s poem, it is evident from the very beginning that he’s setting a tone of utter disbelief and vulnerability. In the first stanza Baca states how he was numbed as he turned the corner to his home, and braced his body to prepare for the shock he would feel. The very second Baca saw his flaming home, he’s filled with horror and disbelief. Near the end, when he walks into his room he falls to his hands and knees and looks through the pile of ashes that once used to be his poems.
This part of the poem symbolizes his falling apart; when he falls to his hands and knees it shows the extent of his sorrow. While Baca is torn apart, Bradstreet’s tone is ultimately one of acceptance. At first, Bradstreet’s tone is one of grievance and lamenting, but in the middle of the poem it changes in which she states that she shouldn’t grieve over the loss of a home that didn’t belong to her; a home that belonged to the almighty man that gave and took. In this quote, she’s referring to God as being all-powerful and that the house has always belonged to him; and that he can give and take as he pleases. Therefore, she’s willing to accept the burning of her home, if its Gods will. The imagery in both poems is very descriptive and vivid.
In second stanza, Baca gives a vivid description of the busy scene, describing the crowd of neighbors and firemen that had gathered around the charred husk of our(Baca’s) house. Through the whole mess, Baca is struck with the reality that in his blazing home, were ten years worth of poems up in flames. Baca’s vulnerability is shown later in the poem once all the people have left and its just him with his burned home. He provides great imagery of the black, charred rooms in his haunting house brooding in its own black rebellion. Unlike Baca, Bradstreet isn’t as materialistic about the objects that she lost in her home.
Throughout the poem, she writes of all the things that she will no longer have that went up in flames, but towards the end of the poem, she prevents her heart to chide(break). She feels that the only home she needs is the house on high erect, which is built by a person she calls the mighty Architect. Here, she visualizes heaven as the only home she needs, and that if she keeps her faith and composure, she will one day be able to reach the Treasure that lyes above. Baca focus more on the burning of his home for his source of imagery, while Bradstreet is more concerned with providing images of God, the man who will help her in her time of need. The use of diction and the form of each poem is very different in both poems.
By reading Baca’s poem it is very obvious that his poem is much more modern than Bradstreet’s. His reference to a fire-engine, and crackling walkie-talkies is clear evidence that Baca wrote his poem in a modern era. Also, the structure of his poem doesn’t follow a rhyme-scheme and doesn’t have a certain amount of lines per stanza, once again showing Baca’s contemporary style. On the other hand, Bradstreet’s archaic language and her rigid structure show that she wrote her poem in a much earlier era. Using words like lye, or thee, she gives the poem that archaic look.
Also, unlike Baca’s poem, Bradstreet’s poem is structured with rhymed-couplets, having six lines in every stanza, every two lines having rhyming endings. By comparing and contrasting the poems of both these authors, it’s obvious that their experiences and reactions to their fierce realization with the burning of their homes were totally opposite. Baca’s poem was full of sorrow and dejection, while Bradstreet’s emotions showed faith and determination. The main reason for this change could be in the fact that these authors lived in different time periods. Bradstreet lived during a Puritanical era in which religion was the central part of life, while Baca lived in a more modern era where materialistic things are of more importance. Which is why their diction and imagery set a different tone in each poem.