What is the importance of “Unsolicited opportunities are the guide-posts of the Lord to the new roads in life,” ... and she made up her mind to her course of action"

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's story, "The Revolt of 'Mother'," Sarah ("mother") states:

"Unsolicited opportunities are the guide-posts of the Lord to the new roads of life,” she repeated in effect, and she made up her mind to her course of action.

This is a story where a woman discovers that her husband is building yet another barn for his farm animals while his family lives in a tiny "box" of a house. Even though he has promised his wife of forty years a new home, and his daughter is soon to be married in the old, run-down place—and will have no place to live with them—the father refuses to keep up his end of the bargain. "Mother" has done little in the way of complaining for their entire married life, but she cannot now understand how he seems to care more for the animals than his own flesh and blood.

Time goes on, and the barn is ready for new animals. "Father" goes away on business to buy a new horse. It is at this time that "mother" speaks the words mentioned above. "Mother" notes that her husband is off and in this she sees an opportunity. She is aware that she has done nothing to create a change in their situation, but that God provides opportunities, even if they are not asked for ("unsolicited") that can lead to great changes in life: to see them, one must be mindful of God's "guide-posts." These guideposts point to the path of a new life, a life based on change—like a gift from God; and in thinking this, she resolves to change the course of her life, and thereby, the course of her family's life as well.

If God has provided a way—where she was in no way involved to bring about the circumstances as she now sees them…"unsolicited opportunities"…she decides she will follow the path that God has presented. She is rebellious to some, and crazy to others, but when her husband returns, he is more devastated by the realization that she had truly wanted something in her heart that he had not understood, and he agrees to make all right as she would have it in the new barn she takes as their new home.

This forward-thinking woman simply sees an opportunity, seemingly sent by God, takes advantage of the perfect circumstances, and changes the lives of those she loves for the better.

Read the study guide:
The Revolt of "Mother"

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