The Revolt of 'Mother'

How does Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman use imagery in The Revolt of 'Mother'?

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The Revolt begins in media res, with the two main characters assuming definition through their actions and the imagery assigned by Freeman to them:


"What is it?"

"What are them men diggin' over there in the field for?"

There was a sudden dropping and enlarging of the lower part of the old man's face, as if some heavy weight had settled therein; he shut his mouth tight, and went on harnessing the great bay mare. He hustled the collar on to her neck with a jerk. "Father!"
The old man slapped the saddle upon the mare's back. Freeman's technique looks forward to the similar exposition of character through the silent and controlled violence of Ab Snopes in "Barn Burning." Father — Adoniram Penn — is thus introduced as the unsavory villain of the piece, a defiant man who will have his way and who will brook no opposition to his plans. He finally replies, roughly telling Mother to go into the house and mind her own affairs. "He ran his words together, and his speech was almost as inarticulate as a growl."


The Revolt of 'Mother'