Good Wives Image And Reality In The Lives Of Women In Northern New England

Words: 1030
Pages: 5

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England 1650-1750 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983) The novel Good Wives is a study of the many roles women play in Northern New England from 1650-1750. The book is split into three sections; all named after biblical females who portrayed idealized feminine traits within New England society. The first part is named Bathsheba, which shows and explains the responsibilities and possibilities women had as a housewife focusing on economic life. The second part is dedicated to Eve. It includes not only the role of being a mother, but also the complexities of sexual life and childbirth in New England. In the third section, Jael, Ulrich explains …show more content…
In the third part of the book, Jael, Ulrich contrasts women from their loving and nurturing side as mothers, to a murdering and aggressive side as a heroine. Ulrich starts out by explaining the story of Hannah Duston, one of the few women who escaped being a captive of the Indians. Not only did she escape the Native Americans holding her captive, but she murdered them, returning with their scalps. For a female, becoming a heroine meant breaking the bond of female anonymity and bringing their own private virtues into the public sphere. When women committed heroine acts it greatly tested Christian faith. Because the book is broken up into three different sections, it makes it very easy to follow and understand. Within each section there are individual parts that make up the larger section making it full of details and entertaining stories. I really enjoyed the writing style of the book. It wasn’t too long and didn’t ramble on constantly making it an easy read. Ulrich made the novel relatable while still keeping it very historically accurate. Ulrich uses great photographs in order to help the reader understand these women’s daily lives. She includes photographs of everything from what they would wear, the tools they used to do their daily work, and the tombstones they were buried under. Ulrich also uses charts when explaining the