THE SCARLET LETTER:
AN EXPLORATION OF THE THEME OF SIN
* about VICTORIAN ENGLAND
* about NATHANIEL HAWTHorNE
* A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE SCARLET LETTER
* THE SCARLET LETTER: AN EXPLORATION OF THE THEME OF SIN
the Victorian era
The 17th century was the century which lasted in England from January 1, 1601 to December 31, 1700 in the Gregorian calendar. The 17th century falls into the Early Modern period of Europe and in that continent was characterized by the Dutch Golden Age, the Baroque cultural movement, the French Grand Siècle dominated by Louis XIV, the Scientific Revolution, and The General Crisis. This last is characterized in Europe most notably by the Thirty Years' War, the Great Turkish War, the end of the Dutch Revolt, the disintegration of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the English Civil War. In the 17th century the professions (teacher, lawyer, doctor) were closed to women. However some women had jobs. Some of them worked spinning cloth. Women were also tailoresses, milliners, dyers, shoemakers and embroiderers. There were also washerwomen. Some women worked in food preparation such as brewers, bakers or confectioners. Women also sold foodstuffs in the streets. A very common job for women was domestic servant. Other women were midwives and apothecaries. However most women were housewives and they were kept very busy. Most men could not run a farm or a business without their wife's help. In those days most households in the countryside were largely self-sufficient. A housewife (assisted by her servants if she had any) had to bake her family's bread and brew their beer (it was not safe to drink water). She was also responsible for curing bacon, salting meat and making pickles, jellies and preserves (all of which were essential in an age before fridges and freezers). Very often in the countryside the housewife also made the families candles and their soap. A housewife also spun wool and linen. A farmer's wife also milked cows, fed animals and grew herbs and vegetables. She often kept bees. She also took goods to market to sell. On top of that she had to cook, wash the families clothes and clean the house. The housewife was also supposed to have some knowledge of medicine and be able to treat her family's illnesses. If she could not they would go to a wise woman. Only the wealthy could afford a doctor. Poor and middle class wives were kept very busy but rich women were not idle either. In a big house they had to organise and supervise the servants. Also if her husband was away the woman usually ran the estate. Very often a merchant's wife did his accounts and if was travelling she looked after the business. Often when a merchant wrote his will he left his business to his wife - because she would be able to run it. In the 16th century some upper class women were highly educated. (Elizabeth I was well educated and she liked reading). They learned music and dancing and needlework. They also learned to read and write and they learned languages like Greek and Latin, Spanish, Italian and French. However towards the end of the 16th century girls spent less time on academic subjects and more time on skills like music and embroidery. Moreover during the 17th century boarding schools for girls were founded in many towns. In them girls were taught subjects like writing, music and needlework. (It was considered more important for girls to learn 'accomplishments' than to study academic subjects).
THE PURITAN SOCIETY
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th century, and from 1630 to 1660 in the 17th century, including, but not also limited to, English Calvinists. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergies shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England. Puritans were blocked from changing the established...
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