A Woman 's Struggle By Tillie Olsen Essay

A Woman 's Struggle By Tillie Olsen Essay

Length: 2179 words (6.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A Woman’s Struggle to Be
“I Stand Here Ironing”, is a short story, written by Tillie Olsen in which the author is able to engage the reader to the plight of a mother who is suffering from depression. It is through the mother’s narration of the story that the reader is pulled into the life of a middle aged woman during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. The first-person narrative technique permits the development of a very personal interior monologue and the examination of an entire lifetime of events. These reveal the development of the child, Emily, and her relationship to her mother in a way that exposes the mother’s anguish and sadness. The language of the mother in describing the daughter is always loving and tender. She speaks of her as a miracle, beautiful and happy. The simple, direct sentences are appropriate to the interior monologue and reinforce the sincerity and seriousness of the thoughts expressed.
On the surface the narrator is a woman who invites the reader to pity her. At first the unnamed mother is a victim and is unwilling or unable to save herself from her circumstances. If a feminist lens is use to examine the story, the reader is given an opportunity to become familiar with the main character, not only as a one dimensional woman but as a mother who has led a life which has not been easy, but has provided a journey that has given her depth and substance.
In an article review published by Suzanne Schneider, she details what life is like for women who have a full time job and the responsibilities of caring for her children with little to no support. The argument is made that women such as the one in this story have no opportunity for upward mobility because of their circumstances. Ms. Schneider muses over th...

... middle of paper ...

...rst proposed “I Stand Here Ironing’ is much more than a superficial account of a woman who is a victim of circumstance. It is a literary work that provided the insight of the complex psychic of women struggling with the demands of economic standing, social norms, and how women interact with each other. The role that plays in how women are portrayed in literature are issues that remain current.

Dittermar, Linda. "Comparative Teaching of Literature and Other Arts." The Radical Teacher 33 (1987): n. pag. Jstor. Web.

Puff, Jayme, and Kimberly Renk. "Relationships Among Parents’ Economic Stress, Parenting, and Young Children’s Behavior Problems." Child Psychiatry Hum Dev Child Psychiatry & Human Development 45.6 (2014): 712-27. Web.

Schneider, Suzanne. Rev. of Fonttiers: A Journal of Women Studies. University of Nebraska Press 1979: 70-72. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

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

- 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....   [tags: Stand Here Ironing Olsen Essays]

Strong Essays
863 words (2.5 pages)

Impact of the Great Depression on the Characters in Tillie Olsen’s novel Yonnondio: From the Thirties

- Impact of the Great Depression on the Characters in Tillie Olsen’s novel Yonnondio: From the Thirties The Great Depression of the 1930’s, which has been called the “invisible scar, the absent presence,” continues to impact American culture (Rabinowitz 17). The devastating effect of failed businesses, the dust bowl, farm foreclosures, and an unemployment rate of 30 percent reminds us that capitalism is fallible. Although we recall with humility this bleak period of our history, we seldom reflect on the plight of the Depression’s most vulnerable victims--the underpaid, uneducated working poor....   [tags: Olsen Yonnondio Thirties Essays]

Strong Essays
3526 words (10.1 pages)

I Stand Here Ironing by Tilllie Olsen Essay

- The short story “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen is an example of a mother daughter struggle. From what I took from the story, the young mom herself had an extremely rough life. She had her daughter Emily at a young age and it did not end up picture perfect like she might have thought it would. Her mother had to work to support them, so she always sent Emily off to be cared by others. Sometimes she was sent far away and for a long period of time. This caused distance between them. This impacted Emily in a huge way....   [tags: short story analysis]

Strong Essays
674 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

- 'I Stand Here Ironing' by Tillie Olsen A good example of Modernism is a short story called 'I Stand Here Ironing' by Tillie Olsen. This story not only portrays gender roles but also family roles. Here the narrator is a mother giving the reader a glimpse into her life, choices she made as a mother, and being a single parent. Through her defense of her situation, she exposes to the reader the underlying insecurities that riddle her mind about her mothering. The tale opens with the narrator explaining the pain she feels when she is reminded of her past and the choices she made....   [tags: Stand Ironing Tillie Olsen Essays]

Strong Essays
669 words (1.9 pages)

Tillie Olsen’s I Stand Here Ironing Essay

- Tillie Olsen’s I Stand Here Ironing Tillie Olsen was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, the child of political refugees from Russia. Olsen dropped out of school at the age of sixteen to help support her family during the depression. She became politically active in the Young Communist League and was involved in the Warehouse Union’s labor disputes in Kansas City. Her first novel, Yonnondio, about a poor, working-class family, was begun when she was nineteen. While writing the novel over the next four years, she gave birth to her first child and was left to raise the baby alone after her husband abandoned her....   [tags: Olsen Stand Here Ironing Essays]

Strong Essays
1058 words (3 pages)

I Stand Here Ironing: The 1950s Woman Essay

- What do Betty from "Pleasantville," June from "Leave it to Beaver," and Donna Reed from "The Donna Reed Show" all have in common. They all represent the image of the perfect housewife in the 1950s. They represent women who gladly cooked, cleaned, dressed in pearls and wore high heals while waiting for their all-knowing husbands to come home. They represent women who can only find fulfillment in male domination and nurturing maternal love. Tillie Olsen, as a single mother with four children (204), provides readers with another view of women....   [tags: American Literature]

Strong Essays
889 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about I Stand Here Ironing By Tillie Olsen

- We all have taken an English Composition course. Our teacher lets us chooses a story from Seeing and Writing 4 that we have read, and our job is to go beneath the surface of the text. We dig down through the depths of context to find the underlying meaning of the author intends. It is through this journey that we uncover what interpretation is and how we find it through our journey. “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen is a story about her mother and daughter Emily relationship. The memory was not always a pleasant attribute to the mother not taking care of Emily the way that a mother typically would....   [tags: Family, Mother, Father]

Strong Essays
1126 words (3.2 pages)

The Mother in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen Essay examples

- The most heartbreaking way to destroy a precious relationship between mothers and daughters is when each party says something insensitive and callous, as described in Amy Tan’s story Two Kinds, “There are only two kinds of daughters. Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind. Only one kind of daughter can live in this house. Obedient daughter!’” to which the daughter, Jing Mei, responds, “Then I wish I’d never been born. I wish I were dead. Like them” (294-295). Although the mother’s words are unkind, Jing Mei ultimately crosses the line, thus creating a fracture in their relationship that she believes will never be mended....   [tags: two kinds, mother and daughters]

Strong Essays
1489 words (4.3 pages)

Tillie Olsen's Yonnondio Essays

- Tillie Olsen's Yonnondio   In contrast to many other Depression-era novels, in which the teamwork of the common man is seen as society's glue, Tillie Olsen's Yonnondio looks with great admiration at one family's struggle to keep above water. Through the travails of a coal-mining/farming family, Anna Holbrook becomes the one constant in a society that turns man against himself, and where fortune is evanescent.   The thirst for something stable is evident as the children show their awe of the physical world....   [tags: Yonnondio]

Strong Essays
856 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about Examining Conflict in I Stand Here Ironing

- In the short story "I Stand Here Ironing" by Tillie Olsen the conflict between a mother whose giving is limited by hardships is directly related to her daughter's wrinkled adjustment. Ironing, she reflects upon when she was raising her first-born daughter, Emily. The mother contemplates the consequences of her actions. The mother's life had been interrupted by childbirth, desertion, poverty, numerous jobs, childcare, remarriage, frequent relocations, and five children. Her struggling economic situation gave way to little or no opportunity to properly care for and nurture her first-born child....   [tags: American Literature Tillie Olsen]

Strong Essays
1415 words (4 pages)