In Mary Wilkins Freeman s short story The Revolt of Mother, Mother, who is also known is Sarah Penn, has been living in the same home for forty years. Her husband promises to build a new home by the end of the year. The conflict occurs when Mother discovers her husband Adoniram is having a new barn built instead of the new home he promised her. Mother is a typical housewife whose main priorities are her family and her home. Mother s loyalty, expressive, and brave nature enable her to stand up to her husband and do what she knows is the right thing to do. The first characteristic is Mother s loyalty to her husband and family.
After being promised a new home and discovering that a new barn is being built instead, Mother continues with her normal daily routine. She always keeps her house neat and clean. She swept and there seem to be no dirt before the broom (523). She cleans so well that there is not one speckle of dust to be found. She was a masterly keeper of her box of a house (523). And despite her husband s selfishness, she never once complains. In the story she says, She never complained, and she ain t going to complain now (525). She always has dinner prepared and makes mince pies for her husband.
Her husband, Adoniram Penn, liked them better than any other kind (523). Although Mother may have been disappointed, she never loses sight of being a good wife and mother. The way mother expresses herself is a very important characteristic. During this time period, women really didn t have a voice. It s almost as if women were seen and not heard. Women were inferior to men. But not Mother. She expresses how she feels. You re lodgin your dumb beasts better than your own flesh an blood (525). She also says what is on her mind and questions her husband s authority. I want to know what you re buildin that new barn for, father (524).
During this time period, it was not normal for a woman to behave in this manner. Mother is atypical. She does what most women wouldn t dare to do. The third and most important characteristic in the entire story is Mother s bravery. With total disregard to her husband s plans for the barn, Mother has her plans in mind. During her husband s absence, Mother decides to move her family into the new barn. Initially her children are shocked, but found a new respect for her. Others think she is crazy. Some held her to be insane (529). But despite the opinion of others, Mother does what she feels is right.
I ve thought it all over an over, an I believe I m doin what s right (530). Mother s loyal, expressive and brave nature enable her to stand up to her husband and do what she knows is the right thing to do. This is a very impressive story. The author illustrates what can happen when a person stands his or her ground. That s exactly what Mother does. She stands up and acts on what she feels and believes are right. And at the end, Mother prevails. Sarah put her apron up to her face; she was overcome by her own triumph (532). As the saying goes, all well that ends well.