The Drunken Husband & Tea Drinking Housewife

27 Nov

 This poem, written by an unknown American author, was published in the 1760s. It is broken into two sections: a drunk husband criticizing his wife, and his sober wife’s response. This poem falls into the category of “Desperate Housewives” because it examines the faults a husband finds in his wife. Interestingly, the poem’s second half actually defends the housewife, and states that if her husband is going to tell her all of her faults, she is certainly going to tell him all of his. While the husband condemns the wife for staying home while he has to work, the wife condemns her husband for his excessive drinking. She criticizes his snoring, the fact that he cheats and wrongs her, but in the end tells her husband to mend his faults and she’ll mend hers. This, again, reveals the idea of a “Desperate Housewife” as she decides to forgive her alcoholic husband. This poem shows how women are dependent on men during this time period. Instead of the wife standing up for herself and leaving her husband when he expresses his dissatisfaction with her, the wife states why she is unhappy but at the end of the decides to stay in the marriage. When this poem was published in the 1760s, women did not have the same rights as men, and it is very likely that the wife in this poem would not have been able to survive in society without her husband. For that reason, this poem is also a reflection of the time period.

Source: Early American Imprints Series I: 1639-1800. no. 49066

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