Story Analysis - I Stand Here Ironing By Tillie Olsen

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I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

Story Analysis - “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen

Theme of "I Stand Here Ironing" to basically be Emily's mothers' responsibility for Emily's upbringing against what should be society's responsibility, or what is thought to be the society's responsibility. Society shouldn't always be held responsible for how someone has been brought up. Was it only her mothers' fault or that of society as well, that Emily had such a troubled life and continued to experience difficulties as an adult. When Emily was sent away to the home, they hadn't cared for her properly either. Not everyone has the ability to be happy when they aren't allowed to love. There is no room for any relationships and friendships to begin. The story was written in both the first person and third person. It seemed to me as if the mother can't see how badly Emily was being raised. After getting further into the story, it looked like Emily's mother did a better job of taking care of and raising her other children, but what about Emily?

The mother's pain is obvious from the beginning of the story. She realized that she could have done a better job, had it not been for the circumstances and life events which occurred following Emily's birth. For example, the father left at the very beginning of Emily's life. He left the note which said he "could no longer endure sharing want with us." The mother does go back and forth through the story with "ironing" as the metaphor. It was just a way to cover up for the time when she wanted and needed to just think and go over what had happened and what had gone so wrong. It sounded as if she was just living in the past to think about how Emily had become what she was up to the present.

Why was Emily writing the story at the same age her mother was when she had been born? It was written that was because Emily may have wanted to compare all of the hardships and everything that her mother may have gone through. During the time period in the story, it was during the great depression which would greatly explain all of the hardships and it would explain why Emily's mother wasn't with her a lot of the time because she was taking whatever job she could. Until Emily had turned nineteen, the responsibilities of a woman in society changed, but the question is, did it really change in a single parent home? There were different expectations for women which are illustrated through the description of Emily as a single college student who was gifted, talented, and straight forward. Since Emily's mother didn't have the little picture perfect life. Life was hard as it is for many people nowadays. After all, being an unmarried working mom is not a popular or desired lifestyle ...
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