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The Revolt of Mother

            Domestic Disobedience and the role of women in "The Revolt of "Mother"".
             In an essay by Mary Wilkins Freeman Reflecting on her story "The Revolt of "Mother"" she wrote that:.
             In the first place all fiction ought to be true and "The Revolt of "Mother" " is not true . . . . There never was in New England a woman like Mother. If there had been, she certainly would have lacked the nerve. She would also have lacked the imagination. New England women of that period coincided with their husbands in thinking that the sources of wealth should be better housed than the consumers. (qtd. in Gassler).
             The above quote reveals Freeman's understanding that the dominant views of how society and the family are structured are rarely challenged or even seen as a problem. In the patriarchal farming society of New England, women understood their place and did not think to challenge it. Yet, this untruth as Freeman sees it is exactly the thing that makes her story so compelling and allows it to illuminate the plight of woman in an oppressed society. In "The Revolt of "Mother,"" Freeman, by comparing Sarah Penn's personality and actions to historical revolts involving men, places Sarah's female act of domestic disobedience in the context of important patriarchal revolts and shows how Sarah revolts against three male-dominated structures. .
             Freeman establishes the male dominance in patriarchal society from the very beginning of the story. At the beginning of the story, when Sarah goes outside to ask her husband "what are them men diggin" over there in the field for" he simply "shuts his mouth tight" and continues to harness his horse (168). The male does not have to disclose any information to his wife if he does not care to do so. His silence is not a matter of weakness but of his dominance. His power resides in the fact that he can remain silent without consequence. The description of the husband's actions while "mother" attempts to gain information symbolizes a woman's position in a patriarchal society.

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