In The Revolt of 'Mother' what is the main source of conflict between the mother and the father?How does the mother solve the problem? Be pretty specific.

Expert Answers
apcarter eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the story "The Revolt of "Mother" Sarah Penn, the mother in question, is upset that her husband is building a new barn instead of building the new house he promised her years ago. Mrs. Penn had been patient and had waited forty years for a better home. The small house that Mrs. Penn had been making do with for so long is described as carpet-less and with cheap, filthy wallpaper peeling off the walls. The rooms are cramped, the pantry is poorly-lit, and their children sleep in unfinished bedrooms. 

"There ain't another woman in the whole town whose husband ain't got half the means you have but what's got better." Sarah Penn knows that even their neighbors who have significantly less money still live in nicer homes than she does. Mrs. Penn knows that her husband can easily afford a better home, but he'd rather build another barn and buy more cows that Sarah herself will have to milk rather than keep his promise to her.

Despite how disrespectfully her husband treats her, the main reason for Mrs. Penn's defiance toward him is their daughter. Sarah Penn's daughter is about to get married and her mother feels ashamed and heartbroken that her child will have to get married in a tiny room without nice furniture or any carpet. Mrs. Penn even remarks how much better the room she got married in was. 

After forty years, it is fear of her daughter being put to shame that makes "mother" take action to rectify the wrong that was done to her and her children. Adoniram, her husband, refuses to listen to her and, soon after the barn is finished, leaves town on business, which is when the mother makes her move.

Mrs. Penn has her daughter and son move all their important things into the new barn, which is much nicer than their current home, and has the new cows moved into their old one. Despite all the rumors and odd looks the people of the town give her and despite the timid disapproval of the minster who visits, she stands her ground. When the father returns home he is shocked, but Sarah Penn doesn't listen to him and barely gives him a chance to protest. She sits him down to eat the meal she had prepared for the family and he eats it in silence. Later on Adoniram breaks down crying and tells her "I hadn't no idee you was so set on't as all this comes to.

 

 

 

Read the study guide:
The Revolt of 'Mother'

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question