How are traditional Puritan women's roles revealed in Anne Bradstreet's writings?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Puritan women's roles were similar to the roles of all women in the colonial period:  they were the housekeepers and mothers who cared for the physical and medical needs of the family remained in the homes.

In addition, their homes were to be a spiritual haven, where they taught their children about the Bible and reinforced spiritual precepts of Puritanism. Also, Puritan women were caregivers for the community, acting as caretakers for the needy or the elderly, as well as being midwives.Women were not allowed to attend town council meetings, or to speak in the religious meeting places or offer prayers.

Anne Bradstreet's poems reveal her role in Puritan life.  Her poem, "In Reference to Her Children 23 June 1652," has as it topic and theme, the birth and growth of her eight children. Another poem, "Here Follow Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10, 1666," Bradstreet joins her religious faith to her role as wife and housekeeper:

In silent night when rest I took

For sorrow near I did not look

I wakened was with thud'ring noise

And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice...

I, starting up, the light did spy,

And to my God my heart did cry

To strengthen me in my distress.

In another poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband," Bradstreet certainly communicates her wifely thoughts of love as well as her deep religious faith:

That while we live, in love let us so persever

That when we live no more, we may live ever.