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“The Revolt of ‘Mother'” by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman Essay

“In literature, Expressionism is often considered a revolt against realism and naturalism, seeking to achieve a psychological or spiritual reality rather than record external events in logical sequence”

The Revolt of “Mother” by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman is a piece of literature that subjectively reconciles the author’s inner experiences through the main character. Coincidentally, the composition is both a work of romanticism and feminism as it defies the establishment of social norms and rules with respect to gender, in accordance with a natural embodiment of marital synergy. Both romanticism and feminism movements are typically explicit in a literary sense, but Freeman’s depiction of herself by means of a fictional embodiment named Mrs. Peen includes both an implicit and explicit representation. In doing so, Freeman departs from expressionism, and embraces psychological realism and the portrayal of inner-self through the consciousness of a fictional character. I believe The Revolt of “Mother” is collectively a subjective interpretation of self-identity through the eyes of a feminist, by the hands of a realist, and the mind of an existentialist.

Freeman’s deliberate use of Mrs. Penn throughout the story is in actuality an embodiment of herself. Consequently, Freeman takes no responsibility for what Mrs. Penn does or says, because it is obviously not Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and therefore she cannot be responsible for the mentality of a fictional character. Further, Samuel Langhorne Clemens also wrote his social observations under the name of Mark Twain; in order to secure his own reputation. Thus, using Mrs. Penn as a literary instrument, Freeman can systematically unfold herself to the reader through a subjective and objective utilization of certain characteristics from which she intends to convey. Freeman exploits characterization, especially through Mrs. Penn, to accentuate the fictional piece as both an intuitive and deliberate ramification of the feminist ideology, and the renewal of romanticism by placing more importance on emotion rather than rationality.

As Freeman’s interpretation of herself through her own characterization emphasizes her feminist perspective, her unique syntax/sentence structure insinuates to the reader a sense of realism within her cognitive thought process. Freeman deliberately chose to represent the lower class in her piece by situating the events on a farm cliché. Nevertheless, Freeman expresses herself through the illustration of a rustic barn upon which Mrs. Penn’s husband was supposed to build a brand-new house for them to live dignified. I believe the old barn represents man’s willingness to break promises he will make in order to get what he wants, and in this case a new barn which would represent another women. Hence, Freeman’s portrayal of reality touches upon the basis of psychological realism, whereas Mrs. Penn is simply a personification of the internal thought process of an oppressed modern woman.

As Freeman’s story reinforces to the reader the disposition of the feminist ideology through a wife’s psychological reality, the basis for the story’s resolution is of no keen intellectual epiphany or successful revolt of sort; rather the conclusion builds a foundation for existentialism. The conclusion to Freeman’s story is as unique as it is consequential. Whereas, instead of some dramatic ending embellished by dramatics, the author relates the women and man as an inexplicable, but a meaningful convergence. Freeman advocates how a relationship within the hostilities of the modern world can still survive with communication and not separatism, as marital companionship is a freedom of choice, not a choice of freedom.

In conclusion, I believe The Revolt of “Mother” is a subjective explanation of Freeman herself by emphasizing her appreciation of feminism, psychological realism, and existentialism as a means to an end. Freeman’s syntax, personification, and use of metaphors is poignantly effective, and stirs a sense of emotional empathy within the reader. Mary Freeman successfully creates a vivid depiction of an oppressed woman revolt against tyranny, and in doing so she has liberated her own mind and freed her heart.

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