Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s “The Revolt of the “Mother'” is a classic example of gender stereotyping or gender roles. The “mother” in this story is at first depicted as submissive, fitting into the role of the obedient wife that women of that time period were supposed to play. On the other hand, “father” is portrayed as domineering, and negligent of his wife’s personal wants and needs. At the start of the story Adoniram tells Sarah to “tend to your own affairs,” centrally telling her that it is not her business, although it is in fact dealing directly with her and her family. Though Sarah persists to know what the men are doing digging in the field, when she finds out that they are in fact digging a cellar for a new barn, not the new house that Adoniram promised some forty-year ago, she inquires no more, essentially exhibiting her submissive side. The fact that both the men of the household knew of the building of the new barn and did not discuss this, or confer with either of the females displays that not only were women expected to be loyal to their husbands, but they also were not in anyway involved with decision making. As demonstrated previously by Adoniram’s demand for Sarah to tend to her own affairs, women did not even have the right to know some of the same things that men know. As the story progresses, Sarah gains more and more confidence to stand up for what she desires. This is a personal conflict for Mrs. Penn, who wants to be both a loyal wife and a good mother. This is why when she gains power from her “revolt” she limits that power by staying with Adoniram, she still wants to do her duty as his wife. “Mother” just wants the same respect that she has given “father” over the years. I believe that with the motivation of helping her family Sarah would not have taken a stand against Adoniram. Adoniram’s surrender to Sarah’s wishes present an ironic reversal of roles. A…
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