The Revolt Of Mother, By Mary E. Wlkins Freeman

1194 words - 5 pages

American women have not always been free, bold and audacious like they are today. They have a long history of being oppressed, abused, and discriminated by the male dominating society. They have undergone an extended period of struggle for their rights, freedom, and better living conditions. Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, in her story, "The revolt of mother”, attempts to mirror the problems, hardships and social struggle of women living in the 19th century. Sarah Penn is an obedient wife and a hard working mother living in a small farm house with her husband and two children in the rural New England. She feels that the house is not decent enough for living and for the wedding of her daughter, as it is too old and worn out. Instead of building a new house, Sarah's husband builds a new barn. Dismayed by the negligence of her husband, Sarah musters up the courage and shifts into the new barn with her children during her husband's absence. When the husband comes to know about this, he is shocked but soon surrenders. This story is a story of women revolution where Sarah Penn is a representation of the 19th century women who were expected to be submissive to their husbands and to the society, and her courageous action of shifting into the barn parallels with the rising women liberation movement of the late 19th century.
Sarah voices the general status of the 19th century women when she says, "we know only what men-folks think we do, so far as any use of it goes, an' how we'd ought to reckon men-folks in with Providence, an' not complain of what they do any more than we do of the weather". This shows that the women in the 19th century were not expected to question the authority of men. Their business was limited to their domestic realms. In this story we see Sarah occupied with her house chores. She is a perfect house keeper. She has the whole responsibility of looking after the house and children. Her affairs include cooking, cleaning, washing, and sewing clothes for her family. Furthermore, she has to take care of the animals in the barn too. She has never complained to her husband of her miserable living conditions. She only demands a decent house for the sake of her daughter’s wedding. Even though she deeply resents that her husband is not paying heeds to her demand of a new house, but she never fails to pay attention to his wants.
Sarah’s relationship with Adoniram, her husband, is a typical example of the relationship between a man and a woman living in a patriarchal society of the 19th century. Adoniram embodies all the characteristics of male dominance and authoritarianism. He is an authoritative husband who does not like his wife's interference in his business. When Sarah wants to inquire about the digging in the field, Adoniram snubs her by saying “I wish you'd go into the house, mother, an' 'tend to your own affairs". This shows that the relationship between a husband and a wife during the 19th century was mainly...

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