Alcohol Essay

1210 words - 5 pages

Analysis of Theme and Essential Elements of "I Stand Here Ironing"The theme of "I Stand Here Ironing" is essentially Emily's mothers' responsibility for Emily's upbringing vs. Society's responsibility - Who's fault is it that Emily has had such a troubled life and continues to experience difficulties as an adult, and, what's the point of addressing that now? Since the story comes to us from the mother's point of view (the first person), it is skewed with bias. It is almost as if the mother can't (or won't) see what a poor job she has done raising Emily.On the one hand, the mother's pain and "torment" is apparent from the very beginning of the story. Her realization that she could have done a better job, had it not been for the circumstances and life events which occurred following Emily's birth, such as a father who dealt with his parental responsibility by leaving (paragraph 8, lines 6-7, page 241) is clear. The mother does, however, continually "shift" back and forth, as the metaphor of "ironing" implies, to invoke pity from the reader and explain that there were others, people, and other factors which played a significant role in the creation of what is now Emily. The mother continually occupies herself with the menial task of ironing as a way of coping and "smoothing out " within herself the issues surrounding her daughter's life, while not really dealing with them.There is irony in this story in that the story begins with a nineteen-year old Emily, the very age of the mother at Emily's birth. The societal changes and different expectations for women are illustrated through the description of Emily as a single college student, gifted, talented, and assertive (paragraphs 50-53, pages 245-246) , while her mom was a product of the 1930s. Since Emily's mother didn't fit the "June Cleaver" mold, life was especially tough for her. After all, being an unmarried working mom was not a popular or desired lifestyle choice.While Emily has the advantage of a contemporary upbringing, she is still vulnerable and fearful as an adult, as she was being a lonely, sick and unpopular child (paragraphs 36-40, page 244). She, like her mother, seems to have a passive, almost pessimistic outlook on life and the future ( paragraph 33, page 244) (paragraph 53, page 246).In many ways, the mother had control over Emily's destiny, which she seemed to relinquish weakly. For example, she didn't have to bear additional children (Susan and Ronnie, plus two more), knowing she was struggling with Emily, both emotionally, physically and financially. It seems as though she didn't even give her new marriage (or marriage-like relationship) time to develop before there were new babies and responsibilities heaped upon her (lines 18-19, page 242).Instead of considering Emily's needs, and her own, she seemed to approach life ignorantly, simply succumbing to her circumstances in a passive manner. Emily is also left alone at night as a young child, by both her mom and her stepfather. The...

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