Check and Mate: A Case Study about Mother’s Revolt.

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Just one century ago the experience of women compared with men was extremely different – many of them did not have access to education, nor they did have a political voice,. Ellen Gruber Garvey, Professor in the English Department of New Jersey City University, who teaches Women's and Gender Studies, argues that in the past century women, who lived in rural areas, experienced more challenges than women living in the city, as they were more labored with domestic work on the farm. Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930), American author, in her short story “The Revolt of Mother” (1890) depicts the life of Sarah Penn, an obedient wife and a mother of two children, on the farm in rural New England. The plot of the story presents a snapshot of the protagonists’ life forty years into the matrimony. The climax of the story appears when Adoniram Penn, Sarah’s husband, leaves the farm for a few days, and Sarah, worn out by the droopy house they have resided in for forty years, decides to relocate hearth and home into the new “fine edifice” on their property—another livestock barn that was recently built by Adoniram. Her radical decision, made without any confirmation from her husband, invokes an utmost reaction from the village folks. Based on Freemans’ depictions in the story of the domestic condition Sarah was living in, as well as the promise of a new house her husband gave forty years ago, justifies her act of revolt. However, “The Revolt of Mother” is not a story about a personal revolt: through the character of a Mother, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman illustrates women’s battle against their powerlessness in patriarchal society, as well as an example of emergence of “companionate family model” instead of the “patriarchal family model.” ... ... middle of paper ... ...ties and industrial societies. Works Cited Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins. “The Revolt of Mother” Tarleton State U. n.d. Web. 29 May 2014. Garvey, Ellen Gruber. "Less Work for "Mother": Rural Readers, Farm Papers, and the Makeover of "The Revolt of Mother". " Legacy 26.1 (2009): 119-135. Web. 11 Jun 2014. Hirsch, Marianne. The Mother/Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989. Print. Johnson, Miriam M. Strong Mothers, Weak Wives: The Search for Gender Equality. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. Print. Kellog, Susan and Steven Mintz. Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life. New York: The Free Press, 1988. Print. Theriot, Nancy M. Mothers and Daughters in Nineteenth-Century America: The Biosocial Construction of Femininity. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1996. Print.

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