"The Revolt of Mother" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

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The Revolt of "Mother"

By, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

In Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's "The Revolt of Mother," we see a mother's inner conflict of accepting her role as a submissive wife, the one society wants her to be, and knowing how to handle the resentment from years of living as a subordinate wife to her husband. Throughout the story Freeman uses vivid language to show readers how women were thought as inferior to men at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Freeman's first attempt at showing readers how women were thought as inferior to men was at the beginning of the story. Freeman begins the story with the question


"What are them men diggin' over there in the field for?" asked by the central character Sarah Penn. Her response given by her husband was "I wish you'd go into the house, mother, an' tend to your own affairs"(184).

However, We were told that "He run his words together, and his speech was almost as inarticulate as a growl"(184). Freeman's use of vivid language to express the husband's reaction illustrated the male aptitudes towards their wife in the nineteen century. It was thought that males had the supreme power over the family's affairs and that they were to have the last say.

The controlling theme was once again revealed after Mrs. Penn had a conversation with her daughter and son. After the conversation the son Sammy Penn went to school, while the daughter Nanny Penn went to the sink and began washing the dishes. During the nineteen-century few women had the opportunity to attend schools, in fact their main responsible was to stay at home and take care of their children.

Additionally, Freeman illustrated another example that showed how women were thought of being inferior to men in...