Short Story #216: The Revolt of Mother by Mary Wilkins

Title:  The Revolt of Mother 

Author:  Mary Wilkins

Summary

Mary E Wilkins Freeman.  Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Mary_Eleanor_Wilkins_Freeman.jpg
While mother is working away on her daily set of chores, she notices that there are men digging what looks to be a foundation.  This sparks her interest because the space is exactly where her husband has promised her a house.  When she confronts the husband, he says that he is building another barn and this angers her deeply.  When she returns to the house she discovers that her son knew but didn't say anything.  This leads to conversation with her daughter who is concerned about the idea of entertaining a romantic interest who might want to marry her.  The mother grows increasingly angry as she examines the very small confines of the house they currently live in, which has rooms that are smaller than the stables for the animals.  She confronts father again when he is in the house and tours the smallest house to identify all the limitations of the house.  She finds it inconcievable to make another barn when she has been waiting for forty years for the house that he promised her.  He continues to tell her to mind her business and that this is what he is doing.  The barn is eventually built but before it can be fully set up inside, the father needs to make a trip somewhere.  During this time, the mother decides that she will move everything into the barn and set it up like a house.  She proceeds to do this, despite the raised concerns of the son, the daughter, and others who pass buy.  When finally moved in, the father returns and is shocked by what he finds  He remains silent and sullen for a while but then breaks down crying and accepting the changes that have been made.


Reflection

Wilkins stories are fascinating to read because they are in some ways a predecessor to the more powerful themes of womanhood that you see in Chopin and Gilman.  She spins stories that have a very strong sense of female identity, which so often struggles against but often finds harmony with the males of society.  Her women don't necessarily reject male society as you see often in Chopin and Gilman, but find a way to neatly blend, allowing for individuality but also commonality.  


Short Story #216 out of 365
Rating: 4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  7/15/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.



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