Women and Family Virtue
This chapter examines contending ideas about family obligation in Moonshadow Pond. In particular, it explores the evolving and sometimes contradictory expectations surrounding the roles of daughter and daughter-in-law. Women face conflicting demands in these roles, but these demands are themselves changing and evolving as reform-era rural families find their way in a rapidly changing economic system. In this context, moral discourse is a way that individuals articulate ideas, often contradictory ones, about what obligation means in the family. In Moonshadow Pond, such issues are not merely theoretical. Ideas about family obligations are typically expressed not in times of quiet reflection, but in the course of actual family disputes and problems. As people explain their actions, they draw from a number of different family moralities.
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