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A Little Commonwealth Essay

751 words - 3 pages

The modern image of the New England Puritans, as one perceives, is a dark one: the Puritans, religious dissenters who valued propriety and order, are seen as a witch-hunters, suspicious tribe, and their very name carries connotations of grimness and primness. Where as the book “A Little Commonwealth” reflects the scenario in which the Puritans lived.

Most of the houses in the Puritan Colonial time were small, dark, brooding and sparsely furnished. This allowed the Puritans to use every available space in the home. For examples, most of the furnishings and utensils used by the Puritans had more than one use…a trunk would be used not only for storage but also for sitting upon or maybe even a table. Moreover because of their lifestyle, they had to carry inventories, which were bulky and were stationed at the corner.

In a way to demonstrate his/her standing in the community and to confirm his/her own self-image, the Puritans viewed their wealth by material and tangible acquisitions. Their modest clothing showed just what their standing was in the community. More clothes, books (even if they could not read), linens and such things were viewed as “money in the bank”, although jewelry, even wedding bands, were not considered tangible wealth in the Puritans.

The families were very tight knit. While they lived in such cramped quarters they seemed to be able to live peaceably and by communicate with each other. Rather than squabble amongst themselves the Puritans, by way of displaced anger, would often have arguments with their neighbors instead of disrupting the harmony in their own household. Most of the families, within a given community at a given point in time, exemplified the basic model of husband, wife, and children.

While the family unit was close, the Puritans would often had contract help, hopefully by formal apprenticeship, on their children due to lack of household space. Servants lived on quite intimate terms within their new family but not equally. In the case of sickness of the “Master”, when the Master was well and, no longer felt the need to have a servant, or passed away, the contract was deemed fulfilled. In some cases, the Master, in his will, would make a specific bequeath to the...

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