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Childhood in the 19th century

            In the eighteenth century Aries presented the concept that childhood did not exist. Instead, he felt that children were actually perceived to be miniature adults. Gradually his idea has received less attention, and the development of the child received a considerable amount more. Modern theories of psychology have characterized different stages in which it is thought all children will pass through. The capabilities of a child are dependent upon the stage that they are currently in. .
             During the nineteenth century, children were desired, and enjoyed by parents. It was evident that parents recognized that there were distinct stages of development. Household chores began as the responsibility of the husband and wife. As their family grew, children, depending on their abilities and gender, gained responsibility to assist with the household tasks. This paper will examine some characteristics of childhood in rural Nova Scotia during the nineteenth century. Louisa's Diary: The Journal of a Farmer's Daughter Dartmouth, 1815? edited by Dale McClare describes the daily chores of an eighteen year old. Jane Sprott'sAlbum Musquodoboit: A Diary and Letter-Book? introduced by Janet Guildford is written by a girl only nine years old, almost twenty years later. These two books give examples of what girls were expected to do, especially within the household, and what the girls thought of these roles. There is evidence presented that clearly distinguishes that play and pleasure were separated from work. Finally, remembering that these girls are different ages and writing 20 years apart, we will look at the beliefs the girls held of themselves. (One thing to note is that both these girls, most likely, were from educated middle class families, since a diary or record has been kept.) .
             This was a time in which the women's role was primarily in the home. Education was available to some by way of grammar schools, however a great deal of learning was done in the home.

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