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Review Of Good Wives Essay, Research Paper

Review of Good Wives

Today, women are an intricate part of our working society. There are more women holding full-time jobs than ever before. A women’s role is just not in the house; it extends far beyond into the working world where women are even holding positions such as chief executive officers of Fortune 500 Companies. When did this change occur? Was it before or after World War II or was in the 1960’s when women battled against suffrage, or did the change ever really occur? Have women always been characterized by washing dishes, cooking dinner, and raising children. Surprisingly a women’s role in pre-colonial America was multifaceted. After reading Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s Good Wives, we learn that women of the 17th century served as house wives, neighbors, deputy husbands, mistresses, and heroines, and it is her goal to highlight and bring attention to the importance of women in the Puritan Society.

As house wives in Puritan Society, a women’s domain, “would extend from the kitchen and its appendages, the cellars, pantries, brewhouses, milkhouses, washhouses, and butteries (?) to the exterior of the house, where, even in the city, a m?lange of animals and vegetable life flourished (?) (14).” The women’s role as a housewife in Puritan society of the 17th century is very common. Their role entails every day tasks that we still equate with a housewife today, and for most of us this is the only role we associate colonial women with. As you will see this is only one of the many tasks expected of these women.

Women were also expected to be “good neighbors,” not only because it was dangerous to live alone, but because it was a cultural norm (51). Good neighbors in Puritan society shared their work and commodities. They were also expected to follow the Rules of Industry and Charity. The Rule of Industry states that a women is always to keep busy-a measure of productiveness. The Rule of Charity meant, “neighborly concern, a general willingness to extend oneself to meet the needs of other” (59). The Rule of Modest suggests that a good neighbor understands his/her role in the caste system and does not attempt to move up or down the scale.


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