Analysis of Revolt of Mother
In Mary Wilkins Freemans The Revolt of Mother Mother is the typical woman of the late 1890s, who was brought up to be subservient to men, as was common during the era. America was a completely patriarchal society at the end of the nineteenth century. Women had always been perceived as lesser beings than men; women were thought to be less intelligent, weaker, and generally less important than men. The Revolt of Mother was written just around the time when women started demanding their rights, strong women, like Sarah Penn. The characterization of Mother as a meek woman strongly conveys an idea about real women standing up for themselves and their beliefs that was just the beginning of a womens liberation movement toward reform.
Freeman portrays Sarah as the typical woman living in America in the late 1800s. Her lack of strength is emphasized strongly in her description, Her forehead was mild and benevolent between the smooth curves of her gray hair; there were meek downward lines about her nose and mouth. The physical characteristics, referred to as mild, meek and benevolent, indicate her personality and yet generalize her so that she could be any woman of that time period. The generality of calling her Mother instead of Sarah in the title symbolizes that all women, not just this one rare case, can make a difference and stand up for themselves.
Adonirams lack of interest in the house reflects his lack of interest in his wife. The new house is a womanly place; Mother will take care of it and clean it and cook in it every day for the rest of her life. Adoniram cares much more about himself and his own wants and desires. He spends his days in the barns, so he would prefer a new place for himself before a new place for his wife. He believes that his desires are more substantial than those of a woman.
Adonirams sense of power over Sarah is clear when he refuses to answer her questions about the barn he is building. He seems to think he is in some way better than she, for she was just a dumb, but obedient woman. He ignores her when she questions the new barn, and reminds him of the house he had promised her forty years ago. He does not even respect her enough to have a conversation of his plans with her. In his mind, she is not important. because she is a woman. To add insult to injury, he told his son three months ago, because he sees his son as being more important than his wife.
Sammy is personified as a smaller, younger Adoniram. He, like his father, did not tell Mother that they were building a barn. A strong comparison is being made when he was being confronted by Mother he showed a face like his fathers under the smooth crest of hair. Similarities between father and son are pointed out as a key reason for Sarah finally taking a stand.
Sarahs first rebellious attempt to change Adonirams mind about building her a house failed, illustrating her lack of power. She stood in the door like a queen; she held her head as if it bore a crown; there was that patience which makes authority royal in her voice, but still could not convince her husband to change his mind. He still has no respect for her, although she is starting to try to assert some authority in the household. She is the one who takes care of the whole family, and the house, yet he still refuses to abide by his promise and build her a new house.
Sarah was unsatisfied with several aspects of her life, and she hoped for a better life for her children. She did everything she could for her daughter, not even letting her do dishes or any other hard work. She wanted Nannys wedding to be in a nice parlor, and she wanted Nanny and George to move in with her, so she could continue protecting and caring for her daughter. She started to see a part of her husband in Sammy, and she