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Mary E. Wilkins Freeman organizes the story “The Revolt of 'Mother'” in a sequential or chronological fashion. She does not employ flashbacks to tell her story. Events in the story move forward methodically to a satisfying conclusion. The plotting is forthright and advances the story systematically.
The author introduces the topic of the story to the reader through the words and actions of the main characters. Sarah Penn wants to know why workmen are digging in a field. She wants her husband Adoniram Penn to explain this to her. However, she does not like his answer. He is having a new barn built instead of a new home for his wife and children.
Mary Freeman quickly lets the reader know the gist of the story and the desires of its main characters. Sarah wants a new home; her husband desires a better barn. This is where the conflict in the story lies. A sub-conflict is that her daughter Nanny is going to be married. Nanny desires to have a nice wedding in a suitable facility. Nanny does not believe the small kitchen of the family home is suitable for an elegant wedding on the most important day of her life.
So we have a plot and a sub-plot here involving members of one family. Nanny’s suggestion that her wedding take place in the new barn being built is the impetus for Sarah’s next actions. Therefore, the author has used the desires of a family member (Nanny) to tweak the interest of another family member (Sarah) and drive the story forward.
The story is related in a direct fashion. There is no retrospective, pensive dwelling on past events to tell the story. The author does highlight a previous promise made to Sarah by her husband decades ago – that he would build her a new home. Nevertheless, the story is developed in current time.
The strong character of Sarah is revealed through her robust dialog when she says to her husband defiantly, "I ain't goin' into the house till you tell me what them men are doin' over there in the field." She demands an answer from her husband; she is strong-willed. This strong will, as well as wanting the best for her family, compels her to set up the family home in the new barn while her husband is away.
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