Puritanism was one of the main features of 17th society. It impacted the lives of many people and preconditioned their behaviors. In accordance with this paradigm, women had specific roles and duties. For this reason, many writers of that period devoted their works to this philosophy and its discussion.
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Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson were bright representatives of this cohort. Both women used their creativity to show their anxiety and fears related to puritanism. They discussed religious motifs, the role of God in the life of a woman, her relations with men, and the place in society (Bradstreet, “Verses upon the Burning of our House”). Bradstreet and Rowlandson had a similar idea of religion and God, who was taken as their protector, and the source of hope needed to overcome all difficulties. In “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson” and the majority of poems by Bradstreet, women demonstrate their religious beliefs and accept this aspect of puritanism (Bradstreet, “The Author to Her Book”; Rowlandson).
At the same time, there are also some fears they show by using their works. Bradstreet does not accept the idea that women are inferior to men (“Prologue”). In the poem “In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess Queen Elizabeth,” she directly asks, “Now say, have women worth, or have they none?” (Bradstreet, “In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth”) and makes readers think about the problem. A similar pattern can be observed in the “Narrative” by Rowlandson as she is afraid of being just a commodity or thing belonging to males.
In such a way, both famous writers of the puritan period use literature to dispute the role of a female in puritan society and emphasize the fear of being depressed, misunderstood, or excluded from the social discourse.
Bradstreet, Anne. “The Author to Her Book.” Poetry Foundation. Web.
—. “In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth.” Poetry Foundation. Web.
—. “Prologue.” Poetry Foundation. Web.
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—. “Verses upon the Burning of our House.” Poetry Foundation. Web.
Rowlandson, Marry. “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.” Gutenberg. Web.