Northern New England Summary

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Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750. New York: Oxford University Press: 1983. Thesis: Ulrich argues that colonial women of northern New England “were part of much larger changes in the history of the western world, yet they are best understood in the close exploration of the lives of ordinary women and men (241).” She also argues that while she focuses on northern New England, that much of what she has discovered is true of other parts of British colonial North America (xiv). Themes: One of the main themes of the text is anonymity. Women were praised and revered for their ability to blend in with society and not tarnish their reputation. This was not solely because of the woman, but because the woman was a reflection of her husband and family, and if she were to besmirch her name, she would, more importantly, besmirch the name of her husband, or if she were not married, her father. Another theme of the text is patriarchy and realms. Colonial America was a patriarchal society where women were responsible for the…show more content…
The religious overtone of the text permeates through these titles to demonstrate the different ways women could be described using these women of the Bible. Within these three parts are twelve chapters that are named after the various roles women did during colonial America: Part One: “The Ways of Her Household,” “Deputy Husbands,” “A Friendly Neighbor,” and “Pretty Gentlewomen;” Part Two: “The Serpent Beguiled Me,” “Consort,” “Travail,” and “Mother of All Living;” and Part Three: “Blessed Above Women,” “Viragoes,” “Captives,” and “Daughters of Zion.” Roughly halfway through the text Ulrich has a few pages dedicated to displaying images of various items and texts from the Colonial-era. The text ends with an Afterword summarizing the main points of the
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