What Is a Summary of “Upon the Burning of Our House”?

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“Upon the Burning of Our House” is a poem by Anne Bradstreet that describes her reaction to waking up in the middle of the night and fleeing her house because it was burning down, explains PuritanSermons.com. In the later part of the poem Bradstreet struggles with materialism, but ultimately decides she should not mourn the loss of her house because God has created a home for her in Heaven.

Bradstreet explains that she was not on the lookout for the possibility of a catastrophe because she was asleep. When she wakes up, she hears the noise of the fire, and sees the light of the fire all around her. Her first response is to pray to God to give her the strength to get through this event. She gets out of the house quickly and watches as her home is consumed by the conflagration. When she can no longer stand to look at her house as it burns, she thanks God and says it was only just that he took her house, since the house really belonged to God and not to her. Bradstreet then recounts how, after the fire, she often passed by her house and remembered where things used to lie. She mourned the fact she could no longer sit at the table and eat, or tell tales. Then she begins to scold herself for focusing on earthly possessions that can be so easily destroyed. She commands herself to raise her thoughts to heaven instead, and contemplate the house that God has constructed for her. In this frame of mind she is able to bid farewell to her earthly possessions.