Edward Taylor
• An important question in Puritanism was, “Can
one achieve religious grace through one’s own
efforts, or must it come simply as a gift from
– Given the poet’s relation to God in “Huswifery,” how
do you suppose Taylor might have answered the
question, and where is your proof?
• Throughout the poem, God is regarded as the agent creating
the poet.
• Taylor believes that God endows all people with their
qualities and with grace, which they cannot achieve without
His direct intervention.
• Note how often the word make appears in the
poem. Justify Taylor’s repetition of this word.
– Stresses God’s role as Creator and humanity’s role
as creation.
• What does it tell you about the poet’s concern
for his salvation?
– Taylor’s concern for salvation is so great that he
begs the Lord to make him an instrument (loom)
of creation.
Religious Ideas
• Taylor can be difficult to read, in part because he
deals with complicated religious ideas. Critics
themselves often disagree about the meaning of
Taylor’s lines or words, some of which have not
one but several meanings.
• Interpret the following words found in
– Complete (Line 1)
– Neat (Line 3)
– Fine (Line 9)
• “Make me, O Lord, thy Spinning Wheel
complete” (Line 1).
– The word complete can function as an adjective
modifying Spinning Wheel or as a verb taking
Spinning Wheel as its object.
• The poet entreats God either to make him complete as
a figurative spinning wheel or to have him complete
God’s creation, the spinning wheel.
• “Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neat…”
(Line 3).
– The word neat functions as an adjective,
describing Flyers.
• What is the point of maintaining neatness?
(paralleled with God)
• “Then weave the Web thyself. The yarn is
fine” (Line 9).
– The word fine may mean “of excellent quality” or
“delicate and subtle.”
• How can justifications be made for both
Literary Element: Conceit
• An extended comparison of two startlingly
different things.
• The series of metaphors in the poem are part of this
larger comparison.
– Identify the two things that are the basic part of
the conceit in Taylor’s poem
• The making of cloth
• The Grace of God

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