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“Why I Live at the P.O.” and “The Revolt of Mother” are both about family disturbances caused by strong women.
“Why I Live at the P.O.” is about the narrator’s insistence that her family confront the fact that her sister’s child was born out of wedlock. She is angry because she feels her sister married unfairly because she was interested in the same man.
Some of the folks here in town are taking up for me and some turned against me. I know which is which.
“The Revolt of Mother” focuses on a woman who moves into her husband’s barn when he breaks his promise to her to build her a bigger house. She feels that she has no standing, since she is a woman, and wants to do something about it.
Adoniram was like a fortress whose walls had no active resistance, and went down the instant the right besieging tools were used. “Why, mother,” he said, hoarsely, “I hadn't no idee you was so set on't as all this comes to.”
In each story, the women act out when they feel that no one is listening to them. Mother is angry that her husband doesn’t communicate with her, and does not even acknowledge that she is being shortchanged. The post-office narrator is upset because her sister stole her boyfriend by having a child out of wedlock, then dumped him, then lied about it.
In each case, the family disturbances reach high levels of turmoil that are never fully resolved. At the end of “The Revolt of Mother,” Mother is still making house in the barn. At the end of “Why I Live at the P.O.,” the narrator lives alone at the post office. In neither case do the other family members acknowledge the women’s viewpoints and try to resolve the situation, so the situations remain unresolved.
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