I Stand Here Ironing Essay

682 Words3 Pages
"I Stand Here Ironing", by Tillie Olsen is a short story portraying the life and regret of a young mother struggling to raise her oldest daughter. The mother- daughter relationship is the major part of the story and the attitude of the mother toward her daughter, Emily, and the actual character of the mother are two very important elements. The character of the mother can be said to be strong and persevering, and along with her age and experience came her wisdom. At first her attitude toward her daughter seemed more of resigned and regretful, but as Emily grew up and became a beautiful and talented young women, the mother knows to let her be and leave her to live her own life. The character of the mother is crucial to…show more content…
From the beginning we hear about the mother’s self- inculpating thoughts of all she "did and did not do." To many people, the ideal mother- daughter relationship is not like the one we find in this short story. This is neither the fault of the mother or the daughter. Through her own relative thoughts, the mother illustrates the relationship that evolved with her daughter. Secondly, Emily, as a little girl wasn’t the epitome of what the ideal child should be Emily was "dark and foreign looking" when all the girls her age should be Shirley Temple look-alikes. Because she didn’t fit in she was awkward, therefore isolating herself from the rest of the kids her age. This attitude and feeling toward Emily has changed since then, and now she realizes that Emily is a talented young woman with the chance of a great future. As Emily grew older and the mother grew wiser, her attitude toward her daughter changed as well. When Emily grew out of her awkward stage, the mother realized what a beautiful and capable young women she had grown to become. The mother can clearly see this, and does not realize any problems with her daughter. When the social worker calls, she basically tells them to back off and let Emily be. Her main hope for her daughter is that she realizes what potential she has, and she won’t conform to society, but have
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