The Widow’s Might

by

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Mr. McPherson Character Analysis

Mr. McPherson is Mrs. McPherson’s late husband and James, Ellen, and Adelaide’s father. Before he passed, he signed his properties over to his wife for safekeeping. This means that his will—which originally split his assets into equal parts between his children—is null and void. Mr. McPherson meant well and did his best to care for his wife and children, but he didn’t express love or affection for them.

Mr. McPherson Quotes in The Widow’s Might

The The Widow’s Might quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. McPherson or refer to Mr. McPherson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
).
The Widow’s Might Quotes

Ellen looked out across the dusty stretches of land.

“How I did hate to live here!” she said.

“So did I,” said Adelaide.

“So did I,” said James.

And they all three smiled rather grimly.

“We don’t any of us seem to be very—affectionate, about mother,” Adelaide presently admitted, “I don’t know why it is—we never were an affectionate family, I guess”

“Nobody could be affectionate with Father,” Ellen suggested timidly.

“And Mother—poor Mother! She’s had an awful life.”

“Mother has always done her duty,” said James in a determined voice, “and so did Father, as he saw it. Now we’ll do ours.”

Related Characters: James (speaker), Ellen (speaker), Adelaide (speaker), Mrs. McPherson , Mr. McPherson
Page Number: 142
Explanation and Analysis:

“I dare say it was safer—to have the property in your name—technically,” James admitted, “but now I think it would be the simplest way for you to make it over to me in a lump, and I will see that Father’s wishes are carried out to the letter.”

“Your father is dead,” remarked the voice.

“Yes, Mother, we know—we know how you feel,” Ellen ventured.

“I am alive,” said Mrs. McPherson.

Related Characters: James (speaker), Mrs. McPherson (speaker), Ellen (speaker), Mr. McPherson
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

“Are you—are you sure you’re—well, Mother?” Ellen urged with real anxiety.

Her mother laughed outright.

“Well, really well, never was better, have been doing business up to to-day—good medical testimony that. No question of my sanity, my dears! I want you to grasp the fact that your mother is a Real Person with some interests of her own and half a lifetime yet. The first twenty didn’t count for much—I was growing up and couldn’t help myself. The last thirty have been—hard. James perhaps realizes that more than you girls, but you all know it. Now, I’m free.”

Related Characters: Mrs. McPherson (speaker), Ellen (speaker), James, Adelaide, Mr. McPherson
Page Number: 146-147
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Widow’s Might LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Widow’s Might PDF

Mr. McPherson Character Timeline in The Widow’s Might

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. McPherson appears in The Widow’s Might. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Widow’s Might
Love vs. Duty Theme Icon
The siblings regard meeting with the lawyer, Mr. Frankland, as a formality, believing that their father, Mr. McPherson, can’t have left much behind for them to inherit after his lengthy and... (full context)
Love vs. Duty Theme Icon
...remarks that their mother is dealing with the death well. Adelaide says that, while their father meant well, their mother’s heart isn’t broken by his passing. Ellen says that their father... (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
Love vs. Duty Theme Icon
Mr. Frankland apologizes for having missed the funeral. The will is brief—their father, Mr. Frankland explains, left what remained of the estate (after deducting their mother’s portion) to... (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
Death, Loss, and New Beginnings Theme Icon
...veil and funeral clothes. She tells Mr. Frankland she’s happy to hear him say that Mr. McPherson was of sound mind until the end because it’s true. She tells the group that... (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
Death, Loss, and New Beginnings Theme Icon
Mr. Frankland is shocked and exclaims that Mr. McPherson had property four years ago. Mrs. McPherson agrees, but then she explains that he gave... (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
...he can carry out the terms of the will. Mrs. McPherson tells them that their father is dead. Ellen tentatively responds that they know, and they know how she feels. Their... (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
Death, Loss, and New Beginnings Theme Icon
...basic facts, but that they all likewise expect her to consider the wishes outlined in Mr. McPherson ’s will. (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
Love vs. Duty Theme Icon
Death, Loss, and New Beginnings Theme Icon
...trouble of dealing with her affairs, but she’ll tell them everything now. She explains that Mr. McPherson knew he didn’t have many years left to live when he signed the property over... (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
Love vs. Duty Theme Icon
Death, Loss, and New Beginnings Theme Icon
...before. She stands up straight and takes a deep, confident breath. She continues, explaining that Mr. McPherson ’s property was worth $8,000 when he died, which would leave $4,000 for James and... (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
Death, Loss, and New Beginnings Theme Icon
...for such a plan. James frowns in a way that makes him look like his father. (full context)
Societal Expectations and Female Independence  Theme Icon
Love vs. Duty Theme Icon
Death, Loss, and New Beginnings Theme Icon
...wouldn’t understand, but she doesn’t care anymore. She declares that she gave them and their father 30 years of her life and that the next 30 will be for herself. Ellen... (full context)