, Research Paper
Personally, I would characterize the roles of women in the seventeenth century New England based on Rowlandson s narrative as sub servant to men. Men in this society were the head of their households, pillars in the community and leaders in the church. There were a few women for example, Anne Hutchinson who tried to speak out publicly. The fact that that she was a women declaring her spiritual authority in a public setting made her even more dangerous in the eyes of Massachusetts authorities. Therefore, she and her closest adherents were banished from the colony, with most, including Hutchinson herself, moving to the more tolerant Rhode Island. (Pg 9) This is an excellent example that New England women knew their role and violation of their role was not tolerated. In the seventeenth century women s primary existence was to serve their husbands and take care of the children and homes. In today s society that might sound like slavery of some sort but this was the way of life for the women of New England. Their skills consisted of cooking, cleaning, sewing and taking care of the children. They were responsible for making clothes for the entire family, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner and taking care of the children and cleaning. Women also expressed their devotion in church. Women of that time seemed to be extremely educated in the subject of the church and their religion. The book notes her as a Puritan saint who seemed to find divine providence in the grueling situations. Throughout her ordeal she uses quotes and scriptures to help her cling on to hope and to somehow stay alive through her deadly situation. In the beginning she would walk along wounded and carrying her sick and dying child. The Lord upheld me with his gracious and merciful Spirit, and we both alive to see the light of the next morning . (Pg 73) These are words from a woman of strength, courage and determination. You cannot obtain these skills overnight, she obtained these skills from years of being a strong productive housewife and enable to whatever it took to hold on and to survive for herself and her family who were depending on her strength. She used her sewing skills to sew things for the Indians who would in exchange give her food and items needed for survival. There were times that she would be so hungry that she could barely move, but yet she depended on god and believed that he would somehow provide her with the food that she need to survive another day. Even though the food that she received was food that it had not been for her situation she would never dream of eating because she thought of it as food fit for only animals and savages. But because she knew that she had to survive she ate it anyway. Through divine providence one of the Indians brought her a bible that she gladly accepted. Though she believed that the Indians were people of the wilderness who possessed pure evil there were some who did little or in some instances did huge things that made her believe that she would make it through this horrible ordeal. She prioritized the things that she felt deprived of as last on her list. The things that were most important to her were surviving and maintaining her commitment to the Lord. She did everything that she could to stay strong and hold on so she could make it back to her husband and her children. Even though she suffered a terrible loss due the death of her child she knew that she had two other children out in the wilderness that very much needed her and depended on her survival. During her captivity she realized that the riches and wealth she once enjoyed had little importance to her. She quickly came to realize that having your family and being with them and when everyone is alive and healthy is the most important thing. Another important thing she realized is that God she remain number one in everyone lives. If you but all of your trust in his hands he will carry you through all of life s trials and tribulations. There were many days where she was denied food and shelter but through God s divine providence she was shown generosity by some of the kinder Indians who despite what side they were on had the heart of one of God s angels. She believed that the war and her families capture was indeed God s providence. This might sound completely ridiculous but in fact it is very true. In every day life people seem to enjoy all the luxuries and wealth without taking one moment to thank God for bringing these opportunities to them. As noted in the reading many cases it was the women who remained active in the church and while the men were not members yet it was the men who maintained all the success and the wealth. Perhaps, God was unhappy with the that he was ranked and wanted to remind New Englanders what the important things in life truly were. Even in her darkest hour when the opportunity came to her she would ask about the welfare of her husband, and relatives back in town and she was told that they were okay but extremely melancholy. Her view of the perfect women is a woman who was devoted to her family, church and God. They must also be kind and loving to all of God s people and everyday take care of their families. The way that the Native American women lived their lives was totally different from that of the New England woman, they lived in the wild and were always moving. The food that they ate and prepared was often wild animals and items found in the wilderness. Many Indian women were not the only wives of a man and this was common for them, but extremely uncommon for the New England women. The most important difference was that of religion. New England women had a strong belief in God and were active in the church. Native American women did not possess this belief. It was an instance where Rowlandson was caught reading her bible and it was taken from her thrown out into the dirt. She was deeply disturbed by this and her deep faith forced her to run quickly after it and this was something that the Native American women could not relate with or even understand. This document was a clear depiction of one women s struggle and her everlasting faith in God that caused her to prioritize the things in her life and connect, depend and trust in God. This document is one that should not only be read as a requirement but as confidence builder that whenever you feel at your lowest point, it could be worse. And also that when you feel that you cannot go on in whatever situation you are in trust and believe in God and he will carry you through that situation.