Edward Taylor Huswifery Essay Format

Make me, O Lord, thy Spining Wheele compleate.

Thy Holy Worde my Distaff make for mee.

Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neate

And make my Soule thy holy Spoole to bee.

My Conversation make to be thy Reele

And reele the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheele.

Make me thy Loome then, knit therein this Twine:

And make thy Holy Spirit, Lord, winde quills:

Then weave the Web thyselfe. The yarn is fine.

Thine Ordinances make my Fulling Mills.

Then dy the same in Heavenly Colours Choice,

All pinkt with Varnisht Flowers of Paradise.

Then cloath therewith mine Understanding, Will,

Affections, Judgment, Conscience, Memory

My Words, and Actions, that their shine may fill

My wayes with glory and thee glorify.

Then mine apparell shall display before yee

That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.

Following the procedure I set two days ago, I ask students to flip to the poem, Edward Taylor's "Huswifery" and take out the SOAPSTone and other explication notes they completed for this poem. We are continuing the same process of explication poetry to reinforce what to look for when and how to go about explicating poetry, as well as create a sense of continuity and routine in the classroom. 

As with "To My Dear and Loving Husband" (see lesson: "More Then Turkey Legs and Buckled Hats: Puritan Background and Poetic Analysis") and "Upon the Burning of Our House" (see lesson: "Choosing Words Carefully: Anne Bradstreet's Diction and Style"), I project the poem onto the whiteboard, so that throughout class today, we can annotate the poem for student notes. After asking for volunteers to read, I direct the class to listen for the iambic rhythm and AB, AB, CC rhyme scheme. After reading the poem once, I solicit students to come to the board and make an accent mark above the strong or accented syllable in the first line, and the same with marking the rhyme, in order to identify, and then analyze the impact of these choices on the meaning of the poem (RL.9-10.4), especially how the rhythm reflects how the motif of prayer and the tone of supplication, a Puritan asking for God's favor develops with each part of the weaving process alluded to (RL.9-10.2). 

In order to highlight Taylor's use of poetic structure, I solicit a volunteer to re-read the first stanza playing up or over-emphasizing the rhythm and rhyme. If students do not point it out, as with Bradstreet, I address where Taylor uses slant rhyme (half rhyme, approximate rhyme, etc.) in this poem ("choice/paradise", "memory/glorify").  

The second element we address is Taylor's as an example of Puritan Plain Style: the list of everyday objects use to make cloth, the words that celebrate the faith, and words that clearly express his meaning. I ask students to recall what a conceit is, and further explain how Taylor is creating a parallel between weaving cloth and receiving grace. This does require a brief, pantomimed lecture on how to spin, weave, and trim cloth. We discuss student impression of this conceit, and the impact it has on the poem (RL.9-10.4).  

As we cover SOAPSTone, students to identify the textual evidence that lets us infer Taylor's audience and purpose (RL.9-10.1) and then either elaborating on their answers, or identifying the words that help us figure out these elements: "Make me, "O Lord" is a form of address, and as such, the reader can deduce Taylor's audience is God.

We also take a look back at the guided notes, and revisit that Taylor's writing primarily served as a form of pre-write for his sermons. This is an excellent turning point, since students will end class pre-writing their poems, and we will read a sermon tomorrow in class. 

Throughout this section, I check for comprehension and pause for students to ask questions. As with the previous lessons on Puritan poetry, I review a lot of terms here that the students already have studied. I can ensure the content is getting presented to the students, fill in any gaps in their memories or previous learning.

Given the breadth of material we are covering in this look, I am pointing students to the information they need to "prove" what the conceit is, in order to go back and create their own example. Additionally, I am directing students to analyze how those choices in structure and rhythm make the poem easier to remember, creating a basic idea from which Taylor drew his own sermons. The annotations on the board provide 

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