The Revolt of Mother: The Power of Decision
Decisions shape our lives. In history , the decisions of leaders and
generals have changed the course of mankind. In today's world , multi-billion
dollar corporations rest on the decisions of a few select executives. On a
smaller but no less important scale, acting on decisions can liberate people
from stagnation. In the story "The Revolt of Mother" the main character shows
us the power of acting on decisions. Mother recognizes the wrongs of her
situation and weighs the effect on her family. In the end she acts to free
herself and her family from forty years of wrong.
Mother lives forty years with a suppressed dream—a new house
promised to her after her wedding. She lives with the everyday routine of
cleaning the house and cooking pies for the family. This shows the stagnation of
her everyday existence; an existence brought about by forty years of non-
decision. Mother stays content with her shack. "She was a masterly keeper of
her box of a house. Her one living room never seemed to have in it any of the
dust which the friction of life with inanimate matter produces"(LACpg.284).
This shows the lack of empowerment mother has at this time of the story. This
state is partly due to the society—a time that was male dominated and
discouraged the wife to speak out—and partly because mother just feel into a
routine that included everything except her happiness. I felt that mother
centered her life around providing for her family but forgot to look towards her
own needs. She bakes pies, cooks dinner and it everything else except things
that made her happy. Mother discovers disturbing news when she learns that her
future house is giving way to Father's new barn. Mother would have probably let
her dream die if it were not for a conversation with her daughter. Mother
realizes that it's not just her happiness involved. This breach of contract now
involved the happiness of the family. Mother does something that changes her
state: she decides and acts on it.
Many times our personal happiness takes a back seat in a busy world.
I forget my own need sometimes just trying to please loved ones—mom, dad, mom,
dad. Sometimes when someone else's happiness is in jeopardy I'm more inclined
to act. Mother is ashamed that her daughter is going to be married in such a
small, drafty house. "I want you to look at the stairs that go up to them
unfinished chambers that are all the places that our son an' daughter have to
sleep in all their lives. There ain't a prettier girl in town nor a more
ladylike than Nanny, an' that's the place she has to sleep in"(LAC pg. 286).
Mother does something remarkable. Though she vehemently denies to doing so,
Mother decides to complain. She complains to father and break the monotonous
silence and complains. As far as we know Mrs. Penn has failed to do this for
forty years. Though she gets a less than favorable response from her husband—"I
ain't got nothin'...