Hope Leslie

Role of Puritan Women

During the era of an earlier modern English society, Puritan women were not seen in its entirety as equal to men. They were often referred to as “powerless and unheard”. In male written literature of this period, women lacked the due credit that they should have received. This theme is so evident in many stories of this time period including Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Minister’s Black Veil. It is said here, that he often references to women as “my sweet pretty mistress”, “an old woman”, “the most innocent girl”, “a superstitious old woman”, “the bride”, and “good women gossiping”. The women were most importantly considered the back bone of the family. They were seen to only be knowledgeable in the areas of the “home life” in dealings with the family and children. Women were taught from almost birth how to cook, how to mend clothes, how to clean, and last but certainly not least how to be a wife to a man at a very young age. The author Catharine Sedgwick openly challenges the role of women in Hope Leslie based on her expressed ways of writing of how the woman should be equally treated.

Sources: Anderson B.S. and J.P. Zinsser. A History of Their Own: Women in Europe From Pre-History To The Present: Volume II. Harper Perennial, New York, 1989.

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