Ann Marie Plane, “Creating a Blended Household: Christian Indian Women and English Domestic Life in Colonial Massachusetts”

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Ann Marie Plane, “Creating a Blended Household: Christian Indian Women and English Domestic Life in Colonial Massachusetts”

Plane explored the households of Christian Indian women and those of English colonists. The ideal of a blended household is explained and made clear in her exploration. To clearly define the blended household she explored the fact that English household ideology and native practices disagreed with one another and led very different family, marriage, household and religious lives. English households were deeply rooted with the notion of marriage. Further they saw it just to give all control to the husband. This was done while the wives “tended house” and served as the housewife. Indian women and men were not as cemented into the idea that they must marry. Their lives are shown to be a strange bundle of rights and responsibilities, co-residency and kinship. The differences in opinion and views on the two different households are explained with the story of Maria, the unwed pregnant Indian servant who gave birth and supposedly threw the infant to the hogs to die. The English firmly believed that “good family governance was seen as the key to good social order, and household centered on a married couple, their children and their dependants.” Their Indian counterparts were not so easily convinced. Plane called these differences a cultural gap. Some English men even believed that servitude would be an easy way to bridge the gap. There was shown to be a definite metamorphosis within Indian home life. Many Indian families adapted to English ways of managing and keeping a household, marriage and religious structure. The main objective of Plane’s essay was to help us understand these two very different households. She showed that even when the Indian women and men modeled their households after the English, they still had a great deal of resistance to conform totally. James F. Brooks, “’This Evil Extends Especially to the Feminine Sex’:...
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