Society and the Roles of Women

Ann Hughes

in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and the English Revolution

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560608
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Society and the Roles of Women

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This article discusses women's experiences during the Civil War. Women's customary responsibilities in their households and communities promoted either creative or assertive responses to Civil War suffering. Their war experiences sometimes demonstrate their vulnerability within a patriarchal society; at other times it shows how their conventional roles as wives, daughters, and mothers were transformed by extraordinary circumstances. In other words, women were sometimes victims of the war, but more often it was useful for them to assert that they were innocent and helpless victims in order to preserve their families or advance a cause. Beyond this women did do extraordinary things: they were directly involved in military affairs; they had political influence, as individuals and collectively; and, above all, they were active participants in the religious fragmentation that was one of the most dramatic and significant aspects of the English Revolution.

Keywords: Civil War; English Revolution; women; war experiences; political participation; religious fragmentation

Article.  7901 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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