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Good Wives

In: Novels

Submitted By dalhiashelton
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GOOD WIVES
Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England
1650 – 1750

Good Wives sheds an illuminating light on the lives of early American women in New England. According to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, men used women both positively and negatively. From my understanding of the book “Good Wives” there were more negative then positive ways of how men used women between 1650 and 1750 in Northern New England. The true test of this book was based on the fact that their were no female diaries on record to date written until 1750; so doing a true evaluation on facts of the time required use of many different resources other than written materials. In my opinion, most of this book may be facts but a true portion of it is hearsay; however, Ulrich did write two other books on tops similar to this one so she has a reputation for being very knowledgeable on this subject. The one and only positive way men (husbands) used women (wives) were as Deputy Husbands. A Deputy Husband would stand in the place of her husband in his absence or if he were unable to perform his duties. “Some wives were servile, some were shrews, others were respected companions who shared the authority of their spouses in the management of family affairs” (p. 38). In performing her husband’s duties, a wife not only gained the respect of her husband, but she also gained his trust as well. As a consort (“a consort tuned her life to her mate’s” (p. 9)), a wife who harmonized with her husband had spirituality and sexuality but one who did not brought unrest and sometimes wound up in the courts due to their actions. Husbands respected their wives’ domain as the center or the heart of the farm and the family, whereas, the wives were expected to respect the husband’s authority and manly duties. Another negative way men used women was for the purposes of procreation. But if...

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