Patience is a Virtue

871 Words4 Pages
Imagine you find yourself contemplating the deadline of a promise made to you by your closest loved one. How would you feel if the promise was to be fulfilled nearly four decades ago? Would you have even waited? Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's “The Revolt of Mother” illustrates a devoted, yet strong-minded housewife who takes the initiative to hold her husband accountable to his word, how her actions positively influence her children, and how it inevitably alters the nature of her marriage.

Sarah Penn is an ideal housewife who, despite her husband’s hidden agendas, manages to make Adoniram’s disregarded promise a reality for her family. Adoniram knows he is in the wrong but feels his choice to increase the success of his business is more important than keeping a promise already forty years on the wayside. McElrath Jr. suggests that although Sarah “attempts to resign herself to the situation in dutiful, housewifely fashion, […] her behavior bristles with suppressed rage” in response to Adoniram’s stubbornly stoic and unyielding attitude (McElrath Jr. 258). After Nanny unwittingly plants the seedling of thought, of Sarah tolerantly waits “all through the spring months” listening to the sounds of construction in silence, biding for an opportunity to present itself (Freeman). Sarah fulfills Adoniram’s promise for him by moving the family into the barn. He accepts her actions because he is not without a conscious and knows it is his duty in turn. Sarah’s docile determination inspires Adoniram: “I hadn't no idee you was so set on't as all this comes to” (Freeman). At her request, he agrees to all the modifications to make the barn a suitable home, and redeems himself by doing so. Adoniram takes accountability for his word and sets an exampl...

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...t was not done out of spite and defiance, but in effort to hold him liable for his word. The result of her actions taught her children to stand up for themselves and what is right and by proxy it redefined her relationship with her husband in a positive way that equalized the respect between them. Sarah’s long-suffering patience is a example that commands attention.

Works Cited

Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins. “The Revolt of Mother.” English Composition 1. Illinois Valley Community College, n.d. Web. 21 Mar 2011.

Daniel, Janice. “Redefining Place: Femes Covert in the Stories of Mary Wilkins Freeman--Covered, Confined or Enclosed Women.” Studies in Short Fiction Winter 1996. FindArticles. Web. 21 Mar 2011.

McElrath Jr., Joseph R. “The Artistry of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s ‘The Revolt.’” Studies in Short Fiction. Winter 1980. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Mar 2011
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