Character Analysis: The Revolt Of Mother

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“The Revolt of ‘Mother’” by Mary Wilkins Freeman, gives readers a view into the life of a woman who is struggling with how to remain true to herself, yet also be correct and proper in a time when women were considered property. The irony of Sarah Penn’s actions; her submissiveness and servitude towards her husband and children are not signs of weakness, they show her strength. In spite of the restrictions placed on her because of her gender, she shows the power of a woman by knowing when to pick her battles, she symbolizes all women in showing love for her family by serving them and by following her heart to make the hard decisions regardless of the opposition. Sarah Penn knows when to pick her battles, showing strength in her restraint, …show more content…
At the climax of the story, Sarah is doing the dishes with Nanny. Sarah’s irritation and Nanny’s innocence are expressed by adjectives describing their dishwashing scene: Sarah is washing “vigorously” and “fiercely”, while Nanny is drying “slowly” and “dreamily” (147). Nanny complains about her father’s decisions in building a barn which results in a broken promise [Adoniram] made to Sarah. In response, Sarah points out, “You 'ain't found out yet we're women-folks, ... One of these days you'll find it out, an' then you'll know that we know only what men-folks think we do” (Freeman 147). With this line, she shares her belief that women don’t have the opportunity to think and speak freely, they must act the way society thinks they should. Sarah is teaching her daughter: there is a strength that comes from being more than what men think women are, from not complaining about things that are out of one’s …show more content…
She would have been raised in a very religious environment and the time period would have encouraged a woman to follow the biblical advice, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (King James Bible, Eph 5:22). Following this counsel, she feels assured in her actions as her pastor comes to question her. Sarah explains her position, leaving no room for further debate when she tells him, “I've thought it all over an' over, an' I believe I'm doin' what's right. I've made it the subject of prayer, an' it's betwixt me an' the Lord an' Adoniram” (Freeman 156). Not letting him get a word in, she strengthens her position when she says, “there are things people hadn't ought to interfere with… I’ve got my own mind an' my own feet, an' I'm goin' to think my own thoughts an' go my own ways, an' nobody but the Lord is goin' to dictate to me unless I've a mind to have him” (Freeman 156). An inner strength is necessary for women to stand strong when outsiders are questioning and gossiping and Sarah holds her head high and moves forward with

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