Alice Walker 's ' I Stand Here Ironing ' Essay examples

Alice Walker 's ' I Stand Here Ironing ' Essay examples

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“Everyday Use” and “I Stand Here Ironing”
The main Character in the short story “I Stand Here Ironing” by Alice Walker explains in the beginning of the story that she has 2 children and one is coming to visit her from school in Augusta. Mama had decided to send Dee off to school in Augusta after their house caught on fire and she was now coming home to visit Mama and her younger sister Maggie. Mama says “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in the corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eying her sister with a mixture of envy and awe”(Walker 155). Maggie was in the house when it caught fire, her mother had to drag her out but Dee and been out first so her does not have any scares that we are aware off. Maggie is very jealous of Dee because she does not have scares and is also very self conscious.
When Dee finally arrives, she brings a long with her a man named Asalamakim but Mama has a very difficult time pronouncing this so he tells her to call him Hakim-a-barber. It also comes to Mama’s attention that Dee has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. After a long discussion of why Wangero has changed her name, she beings to tell Mama how she wants the quilts that were stitched by Mama and Big Dee, Maggie and Wangero’s aunt. Wangero becomes very offended when Mama tells her that she had already promise Maggie those two quilts once she had married John Thomas. Mama had decided to do this because it was Big Dee and Grandma Dee who had taught Maggie how to quilt. Wangero says that Maggie will not care for them like she will and in less then 5 years, they would be destroyed. While Wangero is explain to Mama why she must have these quilts and not Maggie, Mam...


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...that her mother sent her away. She was very young when her mother had done this so she may not remember the experience exactly, she could just remember how she felt. She also was very unhappy when her mother had sent her to live in a different house while her mother raised Susan. Emily was taught not to love so when Emily had returned home, she was a very cold person. “I used to try to hold and love her after she came back, but her body would stay stiff, and after a while she’d push away”(Olsen293). I do believe this feeling is justified. She was basically abandoned by her mother and even though at the time, her mother thought she was doing what was best, Emily was too young to understand that so it has a huge impact on her emotionally. Even at the end of the story her mother states “My wisdom came to late” (Olsen295) while she is explain what she had done to Emily.

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