Anne Brontï¿½ constantly uses religious themes and connotations in her poems in order to emphasise her love for her religion and God. This is clear to us as analysts as she frequently uses religious language as well as consistently making links between her sorrow and faith in religion.
Despondency is a poem that deals with Anne’s anger at herself. Through such lines as “hear a wretch’s prayer” where Anne is referring to herself as a “wretch”, it becomes clear to us that she has a general feeling of displeasure within herself. By analysing the word “wretch” we can make a link to a religious theme as it is the same word used in a very popular hymn, amazing grace. By using this word Anne is emphasising her faith in her religion by displaying her knowledge of prayer, as if she feels she needs to prove herself. The time in which Anne wrote this poem can be classified as her ‘religious worry period’, she had seen the Reverend James La Trobe to repent her sins as she felt her lack of enthusiasm toward earnest repentance was a terrible sin.
It can also be seen that from this poem Anne is asking for forgiveness. This is made clear to us on many levels, an example being, “prayed to have my sins forgiven,” from the third stanza of the poem. God’s forgiveness is said to have no limit and by asking for it people felt they had automatically been repented. However, by using the word “prayed” Anne is displaying that she feels her sins cannot be forgiven automatically and must pray and plead to get it. At the time Anne was working in Thorp Green and was very unhappy with her work, she also felt as though she was not fulfilling her duties as a governess to the Robinson family. This to Anne was a sin in itself.
Anne’s poem “A Prayer” links in very well with despondency as it is also about how she feels lost without God and religion. From the line “Unless thou hasten to relieve, I know my heart will fade away”, Anne makes it very clear that she is dependent on God’s love through the way she has expressed her feelings in this line. By using the word “relieve” Anne is creating the idea that she is under a huge stress or strain and is asking God to “relieve” it for her, this emphasises her depression. The language of this line, and the rest of the poem, has a typical biblical style which can be seen from such words as “thou” and “hasten”. By doing this Anne is able to make this poem seem more like a prayer such as the title suggests. Anne currently was still working at Thorp Green and through her poetry it is clear to us that she was very unhappy there. She was still in her ‘religious worry’ period and felt she was failing herself, her family and most importantly to her, was failing God.
Despite her feeling of hopelessness, “A Prayer” also displays how Anne is willing to take acceptance of her sins and change for the better. An example of how she does this is when she says “I cannot say my faith is strong, I dare not hope my love is great”, as it shows us that she has admitted her failure as a religious woman. There is a frequent use of powerful words in this example, such as “faith”, “strong”, “dare”, “hope” and “love”. All of these words carry powerful meanings which can be used to represent how powerful Anne’s love for God really is. Three of these words, “faith”, “hope” and “love” are also used frequently in many religious writings, they emphasise her passion for her religion and what it teaches. During her ‘religious worry’ period Anne visited the Reverend James La Trobe as mentioned before, after seeing him it is possible that she had begun to accept what she felt she had done wrong and was motivated to make the change.
By comparing both of these poems we can begin to see how Anne’s faith in religion is consistent. Both of the poems analysed hold many of the same feelings and meanings, which shows us that her beliefs remain the same all throughout her life. From lines such as “my love grows cold (…) Hope within me dies (…) Faith itself is wavering now” from “Despondency” and “I cannot say my faith is strong, I dare not hope my love is great” from “A Prayer”, we can see that there are very close links between the meanings portrayed in these lines. Again by analysing the words “faith”, “hope” and “love” we can see that Anne has used these in both poems, all of these being powerful words as well as words which are constantly used in a religious context. The structures of these poems are also almost exactly identical, which can emphasise the fact that her feelings have remained the same. The last line of the poem “Despondency” says “And hear a wretches prayer” which could suggest that Anne attempted to link these two poems together. Both of these poems were written in the time that Anne was working in Thorp Green and by comparing their similarities it can be suggested that her faith and love for God had not undergone any changes and that she never stopped believing.
To conclude we can suggest that Anne freely expresses her religious beliefs through her poetry. She uses her poetry to display her strength of faith in God and how she is willing to devote herself to him. She also uses her poetry to show how her feelings for God do not change regardless of her circumstances, and she does this by making clear links between ideas and language in different poems. Lastly by combining two of her passions, these being religion and writing, Anne was able to clearly portray her faith in God.