In Taylor's "Huswifery," what conclusions can be drawn about Puritan life and ideals? 

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"Huswifery" begins with a simple request, which is then spun out into an extended metaphor . The poet asks to be made God's spinning wheel. This is a humble, utilitarian object with a single purpose, which suggests that this is how the Puritans saw themselves—the one purpose of...

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"Huswifery" begins with a simple request, which is then spun out into an extended metaphor. The poet asks to be made God's spinning wheel. This is a humble, utilitarian object with a single purpose, which suggests that this is how the Puritans saw themselves—the one purpose of their lives was to serve and worship God. Any other use would be a misuse, like using a spinning wheel for something other than spinning. Everything about the poet—his affections, his soul, and his conversation—is to be used for this one purpose. A Puritan is therefore the very opposite of a Catholic or a Renaissance man, both of whom claim wide-ranging interests and abilities. Taylor is proud of his narrowness.

The only hint of luxury here comes with the beauty of the heavenly colors and the flowers of paradise. These, of course, are not produced by the spinning wheel but added from above. They are, however, to clothe every part of the poet's mind, words, and actions with glory. This is the paradox of Puritanism. The narrowness leads to God, and God is everything worth having. By becoming a humble instrument, like a spinning wheel, you subsume yourself into God and God's purpose—a grander enterprise than anyone unwilling to devote himself to God could comprehend. This is how the Puritan humility could turn so quickly to pride.

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The poem provides the modern reader with insight into the importance of work in Puritan life. For Puritans, as with Calvinists in general, work was seen as an expression of godliness. Puritans were not especially prone to deep rumination on the tenets of their faith; on the contrary, they lived their faith, imbuing their everyday activities with deep religious significance. The Protestant Reformation had taken holiness out of monasteries and other religious houses and brought it right into the heart of people's working lives, and Puritan life was symptomatic of this.

In "Huswifery," the Puritan's simple faith is expressed in the use of the spinning wheel. Puritan women were largely confined to the home, and one of their many domestic chores was spinning yarn to make clothes. This may not seem like much of a life, but Taylor is at great pains to present drudgery as divine. He uses the spinning wheel as an elaborate conceit with which he compares the thread on a wheel to an individual believer in the hands of the Almighty, working away on the finest material to create a human being worthy of its Creator.

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A modern reader could draw a conclusion that God and faith are central to a Puritan's everyday life. The poem essentially reads like a prayer, so it's clear that the narrator's focus is on God. The poem also shows how Puritans desired to be used by God as a tool and mechanism to further advance his kingdom. A Puritan's view wouldn't ask God to make him or her great. A Puritan's view would ask God to make God great through their normal, everyday work and lives. The poem indicates this by narrating how God should help the person better perform each step of cloth making. If each step is done with God's help and care, then the final garment will better reflect God's glory. That's an important end goal for the Puritans--a God and Christlike reflection.   

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