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Sarah Penn in The Revolt of Mother by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman

3 Pages 797 Words November 2019

The story is that of a family of four: a husband, his wife and their two children. The wife, Sarah, is a traditional 19th century housewife, is tired of not being heard. She discovers her husband is building a new barn when he had promised her for years he would build the family a new house. Furious, the wife decides, while the husband, is away to move everything to the new barn and make that their new home. In the 19th century, this scene is as an act of defiance, however, Sarah just wants a better life for her family and she is determined to get it.
From the very beginning, it is clear Sarah is her own person with her own thoughts and her own opinions, not afraid to speak her mind. There is a quote in the beginning of the story which makes this known immediately. While looking at her husband, the author describes her face writing that it “looked as if meekness had been the result of her own will, never the will of another.” Furthermore, she is not afraid to question her husband why he is building a new barn saying, “I want to know what them men are diggin’ over in the field for, an I’m goin’ to know.” This comes at a time when women were meant to be homemakers and not question their husbands or essentially have an opinion of their own. Conversely, even though she demanded a voice and was upset by her husband starting this without her input, she was the master of the house and did not let anger deter that. “She was the masterly keeper of her box of a house.” She feels she deserves a new house for a myriad of reasons most important is her daughter’s wedding. Sarah has no trouble letting her husband know how she feels saying “you’re lodgin your dumb beasts better than you are you flesh an’ blood.” Sarah clearly wants a better life and a better house would allow her to take care of her family in the way she feels they deserve.
Sarah’s daughter is getting married soon and is embarrassed to get married in th...

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