As such, the author tried to examine the various cultures, ideologies, belief and political systems that were present during those early times in relation to the roles and norms that enveloped women. With this goal at hand, she tried to find evidences and narrative accounts of the lives of ordinary women. She tried to figure out how these ordinary lives were governed, affected, and altered by the varying social expectations about women.
Through all of this, Berkin tries to emphasize that women were active partakers in the making of history and the alteration of social norms, values, and systems even at a time when they were denied of equal rights. The book’s efficacy in providing deeper knowledge of American Culture To identify the efficacy of a classified historical narrative and exploration, the bases that will be used are the conciseness of the narrative, and its accuracy.
Basically, the book presented a complete and concise narrative since it presented a multicultural setting as it tackles the experiences of women from various cultural and racial backgrounds. It involves the analyses of women of European, Indian, and African originalities. However, the book does not stop at carefully delineating women through their race and culture. Instead, Berkin moves a step higher in careful analysis and examination as she explores not only the popular and prominent women from the various cultural originalities.
She presents a book which explores the lives of women through the varied roles that they perform- as wives, as daughters, as mothers, and as social participants- in relation to their occupation and social class. A particular example is Berkin’s citation of Margaret Hardenbroeck, a trader. Berkin was able to track down the life of Hardenbroeck, and illustrate how her colonial life as a businesswoman was altered by English colonization of Netherlands. In the book, Hardenbroeck’s economic problems, legal rights, and socially-related issues were examined in relation to what her husband have experienced.
By doing so, Berkin was able to demonstrate the differences among the social expectations and pressures between a man and a woman. Another identity that Berkin also examined in the book was Eliza Lucas Pinckney. Unlike Hardenbroeck, Pickney was not very exposed to matters of businesses, colonization, and governmental restrictions at first. Instead, she was constantly struggling to fulfill her domestic responsibilities that were traditionally assigned to women. By these, it means that Pinckney was more concerned and burdened with her roles as a wife, a mother, and a daughter.
However, economic circumstances prompted her to adopt expertise in entrepreneurship as she later became the proprietor of her father’s and late husband’s plantations. Berkjin narrates that overtime, Pinckney then developed "a consciousness of self and a confidence in reason" which she garnered from her education. Through these two, Berkin made a valid conclusion when she pointed out that social class altered the supposed to be gender-specific roles of colonial American society.
In the case of accuracy, it can be observed that Berkin lacked primary materials. As such, she tried to overcome the scarcity of primary sources through thorough research and cross-checking with secondary sources. She even acknowledges the said issue when she stated that though "studies of New England marriage patterns based on diaries and letters and studies of Chesapeake marriage patterns drawn from demographic data are equally valid,” such cannot be used for a carefully derived cross-culture comparison.
However, it seems that her lapse in conclusive data should not be regarded as an important component in her descriptive analysis of the daily lives of women from various geographic regions. It appears that the careful analysis of women of varied social class, racial background, and geographic location during those times is accurate enough to guarantee that the narrative is a well-researched work fit for collections on women studies.
As such, the book gave its readers a deeper knowledge of American culture since it was able to touch on a rarely tackled historical subject and component- women. Moreover, the historical exploration that it presented was rather seemingly complete narrative of women history as Berkin explored marriage, motherhood, social interaction, labor, and beliefs. To add to that, the exploration was done in a compare and contrast manner between the social experiences and pressures faced by men and women.
Thus, it was clear why women garnered different roles and patterns of empowerment and development from men. Overall, the book demonstrated that women were important factors in history creation and societal alteration. REFERENCES Berkin, Carol (1997). First Generations: Women in Colonial America. First Generations by Carol Berkin. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from www. powells. com/cgi-bin/biblio? inkey=62-9780809016068-0 First Generations by Carol Berkin. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from http://search. barnesandnoble. com/booksearch/isbnInquiry. asp? z=y&endeca=1&isbn=0809016060&itm=2#TABS