In the Revolt of Mother, money is represented by the new barn being built by Adoniram. This is depicted when he built the new barn yet he refused to build his own home, this shows that Adoniram earns money for his own sake and not for the comfort of his family. This shows how materialistic his character is, he created a barn with the ultimate goal of just having money. Having money for its sake—not money to feed his family, nor to buy his worldly comforts. He wants to acquire money and lots of it, maybe because of the idea of respect and stature you’ll get for having lots of it.
In The Death of the Hired Man, it showed how money was unimportant to Silas during his last moments of life in comparison to how he valued the idea of people he treats as real family.
While Silas’ brother was a banker and had a lot of money to fend him, Silas still chose to come back to Mary and Warren’s home, the people she considered family, and die there. Even though before, Silas usually comes to their farm just to ask for money, in his last moment, neither did the couple realized that despite what Silas has done, money is nothing to him, but considers their barn his own place—a place where he is accepted and deemed as someone who belong.
In Neighbor Rosicky, as the story opens, Anton Rosicky, a middle aged man, went to his doctor, Dr. Burleigh to consult on his heart failure. Here the doctor thought of the inequality life has for people. Such that a hardworking guy like Anton Rosicky has hardly gotten much wealth after all his hard work. But then he realized that maybe it is not what Mr. Rosicky really wanted in life. That maybe he enjoys his simple life and didn’t need much wealth after all.
The doctor also remembered how once a wealthy neighbor he delivered a baby with doesn’t even gave him a provision of breakfast or anything but when he stopped by Rosicky’s farm, a hot food and nice company welcomed him. This plot only shows that to some people, wealth is the measure of the goodness of life, but in reality, money has nothing to do with our lives—the value of a good and kind heart is still the thing that really matters.
2. ROLE OF WOMEN IN FAMILY OR SOCIETY
In The Revolt of the Mother, the role of women was clearly defined by use of the word “mother” which symbolizes the spirituality of the main character Sarah Penn, in which “mother” can be associated with Mary, the mother of Christ. In the story, the character is willing to do what she thinks the Lord wanted her to do—which is to be of service to her husband and to submit to his husband’s will, like what the Lord wants as stated in the bible. But as the story progresses, “mother” has given in to “revolt” which symbolizes the awakening of the once submissive mother to be against her husband and contrary to the culture of their town.
This act was still believed by the mother to be according to the will of God. There was a part in the story where Sarah had a strong belief that she is doing the Lord’s will because it is providence, due to her foresight when Hiram sends the father a good horse. This foresight gave Sarah a blazing spirit. It is seen as she stated “I’ve let the fire go out” which symbolizes her soul. Having this, the children followed the work of Sarah, believing in the foresight she has. Having this following, at the end of the story Adoniram, the father was symbolized as somebody subjected to Sarah, seeing the father as an old man and somebody weaker than Sarah.
These plot still describes the changing “gender identity” during the time of the writer. As women proved to their husbands that they can do what previously men can only do, and that they are no longer dependent on men to make wise decisions in life, it slowly altered the role of women given by society–from submissive to aggressive, for dependent to independent, and so on.
In The Death of the Hired Man, the poem shows that death is indeed a part of life, as with Silas death. But through this, the character of Mary symbolizes a woman with a kind and affectionate heart, like that of a mother who only cares and thinks of the welfare of his son. Mary could have seen Silas here as her own son, that is why she defended him to Warren and treated him with utmost kindness.
But just when Warren is about the take Silas back, he found him dead, showing that Silas has come home to die. Silas considered Mary and Warren’s farm home more than his brother’s, after all the years of service this hired man gave to them. This plot then again reiterates the role of women in society as the peacemaker of the house, and the one who could soften a man’s heart. In the end, Mary was able to convince Warren to take Silas back, showing that at their time, the wife already had a “voice” over her husband’s decision making.
In Neighbor Rosicky, at the opening when Rosicky’s consulted to Dr. Burleigh, the physician advised him to slow down on his farm work and said that it could greatly affect his health, him being a 65 year old man. But to Rosicky, he felt that only women are the only ones who stay inside the house and work for the family, that farm life is actually meant to be done by men.
Rosicky’s thinking here symbolizes the feeling that men have felt decreasing importance because women are already starting to no longer be dependent upon them. Gender roles were shifting since women those days also started to do things that were once held by men. Men were deemed as protectors and providers, but when women took on new roles; this gives confusion on men’s side.
3. DEFINITION OF HOME
In The Revolt of the Mother, Sarah decides to move her household into the barn, when Adoniram builds a barn on the spot where he promised to build her a new house. This action shocked most of her townsmen, and even her husband. While living there, Sarah improvised a new system of her own signs and actions and gives the barn its own value of a home. She created bedrooms and a kitchen.
Here, Sarah’s character implies that “home” can be anywhere, even in the barn, as long as you have decided to treat that place as home. It gives the idea that a home doesn’t need to be a mansion—where the picture of a big house complete with its amenities and its luxuries completes its meaning. A home can be anywhere, for some it could be the streets, for some it could be their offices, etc. A home therefore is deemed as some place you consider your own, a place where you feel safe and where all the important people in your life can be found (Freeman, 1998).
In The Death of the Hired Man, the character of Mary as a good wife who waits for husband Warren, symbolizes home for Warren. A home is a place where your family happily awaits for your comeback. Then there comes the character of Silas, the servant, who comes back to the farm only when to ask money. Despite of it, Mary appears to be kind and affectionate of him. As seen in Silas’ viewpoint, Mary and the farm is his home, where he can come back anytime.
Then again, Mary’s optimism and kindness also shows when she convinces Warren to be kind and take Silas back in service. Silas was even compared to Harold Wilson, where the former loves work and the latter loves study more. He then again was compared to Silas banker brother. Silas prefers Mary’s home than his brother’s. This is in answer to Warren’s definition of home that “home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
In Neighbor Rosicky, Rosicky, an immigrant agrarian in pursuit of contentment, has the determination to go in a new land despite of challenges along with it. He was a simple man with a deep ethnic identity and a sense of family. The thing that inspired Rosicky to get his own land were his memories of youth while living in the country, wherein, having your own land gives you a sense of security, or a place to call your own, your domicile, your home. Rosicky loved the country so much compared to the city (Cather. 1986).
He quoted “”Those blank buildings, without the stream of life pouring through them, were like empty jails”. Rosicky felt rooted homelessness in the city; he desires to have his own land in the country to have permanence. He found value in an ordinary life by living in the farm. His character implies that home is where generosity, humbleness and sympathy and love for the simpler things in life can be found.
Cather, W. (1986). Neighbor Rosicky. New York: Creative Education.
Freeman, M. (1998). The Revolt of Mother. New York: Dover Thrift Editions.