Motherhood in never guaranteed to by easy. Children definitely do not come with instruction manuals and even if they did there are so many variables, such as the national economy and unexpected single motherhood, that are beyond our control. The choices a mother has to make can cause numerous moments of second guessing and immense guilt. “I Stand Here Ironing” explores the perceived failures and gnawing guilt of a post- Depression era mother as she contemplates the childhood circumstances of her oldest, overlooked, and seemingly troubled child. Throughout the story Tillie Olsen takes us through the depths of a mother’s guilt due to pressures of the economy and society on parenting during her time and how much blame she puts on herself for her
The mother is a selfish and stubborn woman. Raised a certain way and never falters from it. She neglects help, oppresses education and persuades people to be what she wants or she will cut them out of her life completely. Her own morals out-weight every other family member’s wants and choices. Her influence and discipline brought every member of the family’s future to serious-danger to care to her wants. She is everything a good mother isn’t and is blind with her own morals. Her stubbornness towards change and education caused the families state of desperation. The realization shown through the story is the family would be better off without a mother to anchor them down.
In the short story "I Stand Here Ironing" by Tillie Olsen, the reader is introduced to a mother living in the midst of the Great Depression dealing with angst and anxiety towards her daughter Emily. Because this story looks back during the Great Depression when Emily was born the mother's trauma is coming between the both of them. The mother wants her daughter to live a beautiful life, however, poverty, depression and dislocation has built a wall between the two women.
Emily’s mother is just a teenager when she had Emily. She did not have the money or resources to take care of her, so she had to let Emily live with her grandparents for a couple of years before she could get Emily back. When Emily was two, her mother finally got her custody of her, but Emily is not the little girl she remembered. When the mother first had Emily, she described her as a beautiful baby (302), but it changed when Emily became sickly and got scars from chicken pox. The mother said, “When she finally came, I hardly knew her, walking quick and nervous like her father, looking like her father, thin, and dressed in a shoddy red that yellowed her skin and glared at the pockmarks. All the baby loveliness gone. (302)” Nevertheless, the mother is never there for Emily as she grew up. Emily tried to show her mother in different ways that she needed her, but she never seemed to catch the hint. For example, when Emily was two her mother sent her to a nursery school. The teacher of the nursery school was mistreating the children, and instead of telling her mother directly like the other kids told their parents, she told her in different ways. She always had a reason why we should stay home. Momma, you look sick. Momma, I feel sick. Momma, the teachers aren’t there today, they’re sick. Momma, we can’t go, there was a fire there last night. Momma, it’s a holiday
When her Father dies, Emily cannot bury him because she feels like she has finally tamed him. Emily's father can no longer controll her. With his demise, Emily is now in control of her life, and in control of her father. The day after Emily's father died, the local women pay a visit to Emily. "Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her fac...
In Tally Olsen’s 1961 story “I Stand Here Ironing,” Emily is the first born child of an inexperienced young single lower class woman. Emely’s childhood is influenced by her mother’s bad consciences over responsibilities that at the same time is influenced by poverty and oppressive living conditions. Moreover, As Emily is growing up: at eight moths is left with a neighbor, at the age of two is sending to a relative house, at the same year coming back with her mother. at the ages five to six her mother sends her to relatives, and at six to seven is send to a nursery home, where she is emotionally abused. Emily’s mother gets married and four children. As a teen Emily develop a humor talent, that most of the time, her own mother does not know where it comes from. Emily’s emotional personality is a reflecting of her mother’s irresponsibility toward her and her birth order.
Although, a mother’s determination in the short story “I Stand Here Ironing” mother face with an intense internal conflict involving her oldest daughter Emily. As a single mother struggle, narrator need to work long hours every day in order to support her family. Despite these criticisms, narrator leaves Emily frequently in daycare close to her neighbor, where Emily missing the lack of a family support and loves. According to the neighbor states, “You should smile at Emily more when you look at her” (Olsen 225). On the other hand, neighbor gives the reader a sense that the narrator didn’t show much affection toward Emily as a child. The narrator even comments, “I loved her. There were all the acts of love” (Olsen 225). At the same time, narrator expresses her feeling that she love her daughter. Until, she was not be able to give Emily as much care as she desire and that gives her a sense of guilt, because she ends up remarrying again. Meanwhile narrator having another child named Susan, and life gets more compli...
The central plot of the story is very much about Emily’s stubborn attitude towards change. Before the Civil War, her father, who was from a wealthy and well known family, made a generous contribution to the Southern town, and as a gesture of gratitude, the mayor at that time sanctioned them from paying taxes. Even after her father’s death, she believed that this privilege was still granted. Overall, it was difficult for her to let go of the past and make way for the future, which was very common in the southern people of this time. Her unyielding behavior is also evident when she refuses to accept the death of her father, whom she was very attached to. He was very strict with his daughter, thus becoming the only man in her life, up until Homer Barron, who was Emily’s lover for quite some time. The town use to make up stories of their relationship, not really certain of what was, in truth, happening between them. In fact, they use to make up their own assumptions of Emily, making her out to have a spotless image, which was later conflicted when they finally got a bona fide view of her life. Nevertheless, later in...
Life is sad and tragic; some of which is made for us and some of which we make ourselves. Emily had a hard life. Everything that she loved left her. Her father probably impressed upon her that every man she met was no good for her. The townspeople even state “when her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her; and in a way, people were glad…being left alone…She had become humanized” (219). This sounds as if her father’s death was sort of liberation for Emily. In a way it was, she could begin to date and court men of her choice and liking. Her father couldn’t chase them off any more. But then again, did she have the know-how to do this, after all those years of her father’s past actions? It also sounds as if the townspeople thought Emily was above the law because of her high-class stature. Now since the passing of her father she may be like them, a middle class working person. Unfortunately, for Emily she became home bound.
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.