Notable similarities between Sarah Penn of ‘Revolt of Mother’ and Grace Ansley of ‘Roman Fever’

Despite their legitimate grievances toward their men, both Grace Ansley and Sarah Penn show true love as well. After all, in the case of Mrs. Penn, it is only her love toward her husband which makes her put up with his obstinacy and lack of empathy. This is not to say that she felt no disappointment or anger toward Adoniram. There were instances where this frustration comes out. Author Freeman playfully puts across how these tensions manifest. In one instance, Mrs. Penn is shown to tailor a piece of cloth as if she would have wanted to cut up Adoniram. In another moment, this frustration is evident when she is washing the dishes. In the case of Mrs. Ansley, her love toward Mr. Delphin is all the more impressive, because it was totally unconditional. To the extent that it was unconditional and also unrequited it stands in the highest esteem. Moreover, Mrs. Ansley had reasons to feel resentment toward Mrs. Slade for her attempted foils 25 years earlier, as well as her attempt to murder later in the story. But despite such gross hostility, Mrs. Ansley is never for once contemptuous of her rival. She acts with kindness and maintains her dignity even in the most trying of situations. So both Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Penn display legitimate love toward their men and never get vindictive due to their adversities.

In conclusion, we can clearly see the uniting threads in the lives of Sarah Penn and Grace Ansley. They were exemplary women who show resilience and strength of character. These women contested unfair social norms of their time and came out successful. What more, they achieved all this through fair means. Their stories are rich in socio-historical comment. Equally, their lives are case-studies for early feminist thought.


Edith Wharton. Roman Fever. The Pearson Custom Library of American Literature, Pearson Learning Solutions.

Mary Wilkins Freeman. Revolt of Mother. The Pearson Custom Library of American Literature, Pearson Learning Solutions.

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