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The Mother Daughter Relationship In I Stand Here Ironing By Tillie Olsen

915 words - 4 pages

The Mother Daughter Relationship in "I Stand Here Ironing" by Tillie Olsen


'I stand here ironing,' a unique phrase uttered by a woman in her conquest of life. It may seem like an unwanted phrase to many, but it has deep meaning behind it. This phrase is almost whispered by the narrator of ?I Stand Here Ironing,? Tillie Olsen, and also by many other mothers going through an important stage in their lives. The stage in life that the mother in the story is going through is called child development, and within this complicated stage arise many new worlds of imagination, emotional journeys, and soothing memories. The whole story is based around a mother's view, and joy, of her child growing up in a world filled with barriers and hurdles that she must overcome. The entire point of view is that of the narrator, as a mother concerned with the way her child is being raised and the hardships she must overcome. She also witnesses her daughter?s happiness and the colorful meanings of life that she discovers herself. I believe this story is based around the hardships of growing up as a woman in the Nineteen-hundreds. It has all the symbolism of being a true feminist short story. As Elaine Orr expresses in her criticism, Tillie Olsen and a Feminist Spiritual Vision, about how ?Suddenly Emily is emblematic of all children, of the next generation??(EO 84) that the times were of the early feministic era. When feminists were about conquering oppression and rising above the rest of the doubt that society places upon them. She talks about how ?Emily will not survive. If she does not believe in future presence, in beginnings latent in her own life, all is lost: past, present, and future.?(EO 84) expressing once again how the times were different then and how Emily better take care of herself or she may be in a never-ending struggle with human nature. I feel, however, that this story was based on the emotional pull a mother has to one of her children and how the feelings of emotion race wildly with every moment and situation in that child?s life. The fact that her mother, the narrator, felt so attached to her daughter, Emily, makes me feel that the two had some sort of connection within each of their respected childhoods. It almost appears that the narrator wants us to feel that connection by expressing her emotions so vividly and with such emotional detail that you are almost forced to feel that child?s pain, happiness, and struggle through the narrator views and battles. When Elaine Orr expresses the mother?s connection with...

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