I Stand Here Ironing Essay

1361 Words6 Pages
I stand here ironing I Stand Here Ironing lies in its fusion of motherhood as both metaphor and experience: it shows us motherhood bared, stripped of romantic distortion, and reins fused with the power of genuine metaphorical insight into the problems of selfhood in the modern world. ironing is a metaphor for "the ups and downs, back and forth of pressing pressures to make ends meet and a determination to pass through life's horrors and difficulties by keeping the mind intact and focusing on the beauty and blessings that [lie amidst] the dark times"? So the ironing is like a drug, to keep the mother calm and sedated. The story seems at first to be a simple meditation of a mother reconstructing her daughter's past in an attempt to…show more content…
"You think because I am her mother I have a key, or that in some way you could use me as a key? She has lived for nineteen years. Over and over, we are told of the limitations on choice--"it was the only way"; "They persuaded me" and verbs of necessity recur for descriptions of both the mother's and Emily's behavior. " In such statements as "my wisdom ! came too late," the story verges on becoming an analysis of parental guilt. With the narrator, we construct an image of the mother's own development: her difficulties as a young mother alone with her daughter and barely surviving during the early years of the depression; her painful months of enforced separation from her daughter; her gradual and partial relaxation in response to a new husband and a new family as more children follow; her increasingly complex anxieties about her first child; and finally her sense of family balance which surrounds but does not quite include the early memories of herself and Emily in the grips of survival needs. In doing so she has neither trivialized nor romanticized the experience of motherhood; she has indicated the wealth of experience yet to be explored in the story’s possibilities of experiences, like motherhood, which have rarely been granted serious literary consideration. Rather she is searching for
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