Tillie Olsen's I Stand Here Ironing And Kay Boyle's Astronomers Wife

1220 words - 5 pages

There are many different styles of writing a story. A writer can use first, second or third person narration. In addition to this, a writer can write a story that is meant to be read to oneself or out loud. In Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing" is written in first person while Kay Boyle's "Astronomer's Wife" is written in third person. Both these stories are ironic while "I Stand Here Ironing" is written in a guilty and reflective tone and is also autobiographical, while the "Astronomer's Wife" is written in a reflective tone. Both these stories are meant to be read to oneself. However, these stories convey a deep meaning and are both powerful short stories and written realistically. Both these stories include the theme of love and understanding.In Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing", a mother is torn on her thoughts of how to raise her child. 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. I don't believe that anyone has the ability to be happy when they aren't allowed to love. There is no room for any relationships and friendships to begin. 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, however, 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, leaving a note stating, "sharing want with us" (pg. 290). 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 reflect 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.In her final statement, Emily's mother relieves herself of guilt and responsibility. She tells herself she's done the best she can, and now it's up to Emily. You can almost hear the words "good luck" escape from her lips as she continues to drown herself in the chores that a mother of young children must perform, breathing a sigh of relief as she convinces herself one has "made it", at least further than she did.In the opening paragraph of Kay Boyle's Astronomer's Wife, Boyle depicts a woman who is oppressed of an equal, intelligent conversation with her spouse. Mrs. Ames sees to all matters of running a successful household, while the astronomer sleeps late and is a loner. His profession makes it clear that he spends a lot of time in thought and alone in the dark at night. Boyle explains, "He was a man of other things, a dreamer. At times he lay still for hours, at others he sat upon the roof behind his telescope, or...

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