What household task or process might Taylor describe if he were writing this poem today?    

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In “Huswifery,” Edward Taylor uses the activity of spinning thread on a loom as a metaphor for how he wants God to work in his life. He asks God to make him a “spinning wheel complete,” meaning that he wants God to use him to do his bidding and spread his message through his words and actions.

Obviously, spinning thread on a loom is a practice that doesn’t take place often any more, especially in the average household. To determine a household task that he might use if he were writing this poem today, you would want to think about something that could also be used as a metaphor for asking God to work through someone. The reason Taylor’s metaphor works so well is because each part of the process of spinning thread into a cloth fits with the idea of God working through someone. For example, when he says, “My conversation make to be Thy reel” he wants his words to reflect God’s will and for God to speak through him.

Simple tasks such as doing the dishes, then, might not be the best choice as the metaphor doesn’t exactly fit. You would want to think of something that involves many parts and ends in some kind of finished product, like the cloth in Taylor’s poem. One possibility could be gardening. Taylor might ask God to make him a seed that he can plant, grow, and cultivate according to his will. Another might be cooking, where each ingredient can be compared to a trait of a person’s soul, just like Taylor asks God to influence his “understanding, will,/Affections, judgement, conscience, memory.” The household task today that would make the best comparison would be one that involved great thought and care to create a product that the creator would be pleased with.

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