The descriptions of Mother and figurative language show that she is strong.
Although mother tells Nanny Penn that women folk know nothing, according to men, she is actually a strong character. When her husband decides to build a bigger barn instead of the better house he promised her, she is irritated and she decides to do something about it.
Sarah Penn’s irritation is demonstrated by her reactions to finding out her husband is building a barn. She shoved her daughter aside, “plunged her hands vigorously into the water,” and “scrubbed a dish fiercely.” The fact that she shows her displeasure in her housework demonstrates an awareness of her station in life and how she can use it.
Sarah gets the idea to use what strength and power she has. She moves into the barn.
With partitions and windows, what a house would there be! Sarah looked at the row of stanchions before the allotted space for cows, and reflected that she would have her front entry there.
There, she is described with figurative language. The peas she is shelling are compared to bullets, and “the barn threshold might have been Plymouth Rock from her bearing” when the minister confronts her. She does not back down. Her husband built a bigger barn when he promised her a bigger house, so she moved into the house.