Analysis of Revolt of Mother

Topics: Woman, Wife, Gender Pages: 3 (1031 words) Published: May 7, 2000
Analysis of "Revolt of ‘Mother'"
In Mary Wilkins Freeman's "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 women's 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.

Adoniram's 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. Adoniram's sense of power over Sarah is clear when he refuses to answer her questions about the...
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