Good Wives by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
October 3, 2010
This book was written by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and is titled “Good Wives Image and Reality in the lives of Women in Northerner New England 1650-1750”.
The author is giving an account of what life was really like for the women in Northern New England of 1650-1750. The book starts with a letter address from a father to his daughter pertaining to the death of his wife and her mother, Dorothy Dudley. He says he sorrowful but gives his daughter a “list of qualities in a long passage of advice reminding her to imitate her mother virtues to the best of her abilities. Thatcher then goes on in great detail to give many examples of what life was like for these women, good and bad. She has divided the book into 3 parts that are that were taken from women of the bible times. Within each of these clusters, a woman’s role is defined with a title; such as housewife, deputy husband, concert, mother, mistress, neighbor, heroine and a Christian. Each role is discussed in depth but as the introduction states the roles were not independent of each other, nor did they live in isolation from each other, they each one reacted off the other one. She points out that the women were defined by roles and the roles were strongly followed because they were so closely tied to the biblical principals taught by the Puritan people of this region. Gender was as important as race, wealth, geography or religion. The author summarizes her perspective, chapter 12, Daughters of Zion, of the Jael cluster with this; “Women helped to shape religion in northern New England, but is important to recognize that their effectiveness was dependent upon the approval of the men who voted the taxes, called the ministers, and interpreted the visions. The more successful and dramatic witnesses of female power were also the most short-lived. The women of Chebacco meekly recanted their disobedience. Elizabeth Davis left the...