Puritanism

Introduction.

(a)What is ?

simply refers to the separation from that which is considered to be‘impure’. This term was commonly adopted in the religious realmfrom the 18thcentury and became largely widespread during the early 19thcentury in the United States of America.This stand was taken by adiverse group chiefly in America as an insistence towards themaintenance of religious purity. Further avowal was on the drift fromall other Christian groups particularly those that pushed for alittle tendency and inclination into advocating for a revolutiontowards change and the treatment of both sexes as equals (Uhlmann312- 320).

(b) and Sexism.

advocated for sexism, something that faced a huge uproar andresistance from different persons. These individuals went to greaterextents of publishing several arts of work as prolific scholars in abid to put a standstill towards , more so on the sexismbit. These works have faced much antagonism from the church andprotagonists of (Uhlmann 312- 320). The paper below shedsmuch light on what is expected of a Puritan woman since mainly dwelled on showing what the woman whom was regarded as aweaker sex as compared to man should behave in the so-called moralsociety. More to that, it addresses the major criticisms that faced and still faces as well as my stand on what roadshould the current world take in an attempt to end . Is a good thing? Should it be shunned at all costs? All theseand other similar questions are captured in the discussion belowthrough the reflection of the writings and lives of Anne Bradstreet,Mary Rowlandson and Sarah Kemble Knights.

aims at ‘purifying’ the society from embracing and practicingcodes of behavior that are act contrary to the accepted societalcodes of conduct. It involves a strict moral code that treats thewoman as a minor as compared to man and purports that she shouldtreat man as their Demigods since they hold a senior position in thecommunity as compared to them. further bases all itsstands to the Bible and attaches it as commandments from God (Witt381-396). This is well reflected in Anne Bradstreet’s life aroundtwo staunch puritans, that is her father- Thomas Dudley- and husband,Simon Bradstreet. Living in a life surrounded by poverty andpuritanism influences her pieces of writings majority of which sheputs forward in form of poetry. She concurs with puritans on the factthat women ought to be nurturing, an act she reflects in the way sheis able to raise her eight children.

However,she differs with them on their stereotype that women should only be afamily figure spending their entire life around the family cocoon.This she refutes by showing that it is possible for a woman to jugglewifely, motherly and professional duties successfully. This shedisplays by the way she becomes a professional author and stillmanages to manage her family. She further defends the female speciesin one which she said that, “Let Greeks be Greeks and women whatthey are.” (Anneke200)Her quote simply meant that it was time that the society allowed thewomen to be active members just as their male counterparts sincethat is what creation deems them to be.

2.Values of a puritan woman

(a)Submission

Puritansadvocate for submissiveness as a woman’s role towards her husband.Diligence is expected of a woman in serving her family, particularlythat which entails of her husband and children. The woman is viewedas a family figure and whose family’s dignity and respect solelylies in her hands. All this is based on a fanatical interpretation ofthe Bible that states that women should submit to their husbands. Onewonders how come these Puritans interpret this Bible verse inisolation to the other part of the verse that insists that ‘aswomen submit to their husbands then the husbands should in turnrespect and love their wives.

Suchnotion is highly criticized by Anne Bradstreet, who shows that awoman can still manage to embrace what she calls as the positive andliberated bit of whilst on the other hand manage to attaintheir rightful place in the society. Through her criticism one comesto a conclusion that a juggle between the fairly non-extremist bit ofa woman’s Puritan life and that of the modern woman then both thefamilial and societal goals are bound to be achieved (Witt 381-396).This is well reflected in her life in that despite the position takenby Puritans that Puritans should appear sour and dull faced. Shebeats this approach by maintaining a zealous approach and shuns allodds and outdoes the much-adopted stereotype of women being minorsand the view nothing good can come from them.

(b)Reserved

APuritan woman is more so expected to be reserved in addition toavoiding any conformity to any wayward character, something that theman is highly and strongly shielded from. Puritans believe andadvocate that drugs and irresponsible sexual behaviors are a domainthat is totally out of bounds for a straight and a morally uprightwoman. They propose that any divergent action should lead toseclusion and separation from their somewhat moral world (Anneke252). Their male counterparts are permitted by the society to behavein such an unruly character which is deemed as their nature. Theybase their arguments biblically on the notion that many men of old -agood example being David and Solomon- that gained favor in God’seyes practiced such character and still managed to maintain goodrelationships with their creator, whereas women who did so normallycaused disgust to the other members of the society and none iswhatsoever depicted to have had a good relationship with God.However, the ignorance and shallow mindedness of these individuals isalarmingly surprising and at the same time disappointing. They failto further scrutinize and analyze the Bible and realize that thesemen of great faith that sinned were later connected to God onlythrough repentance, something which if not done lead to theirdownfall as depicted in the case of King Saul. There also exist womenof old that maintained a closeness to God despite their sinfulbehavior as seen in the cases of Martha and the Samaritan woman whobecame good friends and disciples s of Jesus (God’s son).

MaryRowlandson encourages such behavior by showing her savage experienceswith local Indians. She shows how she smoked tobacco and her piece ofwriting is aimed at the redemption of her guilty soul by consolingand defending herself. That despite what Puritans consider as adeviation to such errant character, such individuals should still beconsidered as Puritans. In simple words, she advocates for theembrace of modern character to fit as a move towardsencouraging modernism that denotes that both sexes are equal (Marini251- 252).

Oneshould not be mistaken to be an encourager of the performance of anyill behavior. Quite the opposite, such character is unacceptable andshould not be put up with. Nonetheless, the inclination towardsencouraging such character in a particular sex turns to be quitefrustrating. It should be discouraged in all groups of peopleirrespective of a person’s gender.

EmotionalInstability

Emotionalstrength is somewhat disapproved of a Puritan woman. These are beingsthat are deemed and expected to be emotionally weak and vulnerable toany heartache and are expected to handle it with the utmost meeknessand emotional instability. Mary Rowlandson beats this approach in theway she handles the bitter and enstranged life she and her familyface. She manages to pull through such trying times and this provesthat – unlike what the puritans think- women are a strong species andcan handle trials and still triumph over them better than their malefellows.

SarahKemble Knights is a depiction of a un-Puritan woman. She isconsidered to be so because unlike Mary Rowlandson and AnneBradstreet, who advocate for a merger between andun- to modernism, she insists on un- which showsthat despite such separation and alienation from , themodern woman is bound to achieve her goals without compromising herwifely and motherly duties (Anneke 235). Sarah Kemble displays theemotional strength and stability of a woman in her writings wher sheuses humor to beat all odds and face the challenges in the mostunexpected calm way.Sarah is a woman who proves to be independent andquite self reliant. This is seen in the way she talks of herexpereinces at the second day of her journey. She says that since onthe first day she was able to cross a thick swamp, the terrifyingriver would be no obstacle to her. She says that, “ I now ralliedall all, the courage I was mistress of….”.(Anneke 101)If it were for a another city woman she would have called it quitsbut Knight shows a different perspective of a strong woman. Shemanages to sojourn successfully.

Hitchesfaced by non puritans.

Non-Puritansface much antagonism coupled with intense animosity and ill-treatmentfrom the Puritans. They have severally been viewed and taken to berebels. Ann Hutchinson is one of the major non-Puritans that canattest to such treatment as they were expelled from the society owingto what the Puritans refer to as negative radicalism towards (Anneke 235). Worse still is that many of them were barredfrom even attending Puritan churches and were publicly shamed forperpetrating the move towards such madness.

Thiserrant group nevertheless managed to beat all odds and to take thesame positions as their male counterparts. They discredit the notionof their inferiority and prove to be at the same level with men. Thisis evident in how Sarah Knight manages to take up her husband’sresponsibilities as a business and legal acumen and successfullymanages his estates (Anneke 235). Surprisingly enough she accumulatesmuch more profits as compared to what the businesses realized whenunder the leadership of her late husband. Better still is the factthat she does not ignore her family duties despite being a vibrantand determined professional woman.

Conclusion

Toconclude with, is not a bad idea that needs a lot ofcriticism and discrediting. It should not be fully done away with asproposed by extremists like Sarah. On the contrary, a blend of itwith modernism so as to incorporate that which is deemed to be impureshould be encouraged. The efforts pioneered by Anne Bradstreet andMary Rowlandson should be supported so as to merge these twoconflicting worlds to one united universe that incorporates allgroups of people.

WorksCited

Anneke,Mathilde Franziska. &quotAberg, Ingrid.“Revivalism, Philanthropy,and Emancipation:

Women`sLiberation and Organization in the Early Nineteenth Century.”Scandinavian.&quot GoldenCables of Sympathy: The Transatlantic Sources of Nineteenth-CenturyFeminism13 (2015): 235.

Marini,Stephen A. &quotCheryl C. Boots. Singing for Equality: Hymns in theAmerican Antislavery

andIndian Rights Movements, 1640–1855.&quot TheAmerican Historical Review120.1 (2015): 251-252.

Uhlmann,Eric Luis, et al. &quotImplicit in American moralcognition.&quot Journalof

ExperimentalSocial Psychology47.2 (2011): 312-320.

Witt,Joseph. &quotDark Green Religion: Advocating for the Sacredness ofNature in a Changing

World.&quotTheChanging World Religion Map.Springer Netherlands, 2015. 381-396.