Four Women in a Violent Time Critical Essays

Deborah Crawford


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In this collective biography, Crawford presents an account of four women struggling to obtain personal and collective freedom during a difficult time in the history of both England and the American colonies. Because this book was written specifically for a young adult audience, it presents a more personal accounting of historical events in order to create interest in its readers.

Crawford’s sympathy for these four individuals is quite evident throughout the book, as she presents them as women who have been wronged by their societies in one way or another. Crawford emphasizes their individual roles in history while providing adequate historical context for the events that she relates. Throughout the book, Crawford’s implied criticism of early American society and its limitations is also evident, and she often refers to the stringent laws governing religion to reinforce her points.

Crawford’s evaluation of the time period itself is less favorable. She is quite critical, often with reason, of the severe religious rules which governed the various new colonies. This criticism serves to dispel the myth that the Pilgrims, among others, were advocates of religious freedom. Rather, the young adult reader becomes very aware of the intolerance of the various sects toward those whose views differed from their own. On the other hand, she presents a balanced view of the relationship between some Native American tribes and the colonists. The reader learns that sometimes the relations were strained and that sometimes they were not, depending upon how the colonists treated the Native Americans...

(The entire section is 657 words.)