Sometimes children complain about their mothers, each wishing they could have different type of mom. The lives and situations of each mother were different, but in my opinion, both mothers were a bad model for parenting. "I Stand Here Ironing" by Tillie Olsen shows us a mother who is struggling through her own life and does not pay any attention to her daughter. The mother in this story happens to be the narrator, and we get the indication that she isn't a very good mother. To start, she was very young when she first had Emily.
Analytical Essay on “I Stand Here Ironing” “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen, is a story about a mother's struggle to balance the demands of raising children and having to work to make ends meet during the Great Depression. The story’s primary focus is on the relationship between the narrator, a mother, and her first child, Emily. Throughout the story, the narrator reflects on the decisions and mistakes she made while raising Emily. The narrator was detached from Emily almost completely during her younger years, but she desires an emotional connection to her, like she has with her other children. She also wants Emily to have a better life than she had.
In the story, “I Stand Here Ironing,” Tillie Olsen portrays the life and regret of a young single mother struggling to raise her daughter Emily. Olsen points out through uncontrollable circumstances in society, Emily’s mother is forced to become a working-class mother who must hold down a job and care for her child. To many the ideal mother-daughter relationship is not like the one we find is this story. This is neither the fault of the mother nor daughter. In the beginning, while she is ironing, the mother of a nineteen-year-old girl reflects on her daughter’s childhood.
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.
She would go on to be a lady's maid, governess, teacher, translator, and writer throughout her life. She longed to live an independent life, but struggled to earn a living wage with the jobs she had and the fact she lived in a world where women were to become obedient wives. Mary's sister, Eliza, was supposedly deranged from her difficult birth to her daughter and the abuse of her husband. So, Mary convinced Eliza to leave her husband and baby. The sisters would then start a school with Mary's beloved friend, Fanny Blood.
Social pressure to raise pleasant, good mannered children who become grounded and productive adults has been a driving influence for many generations. If our children do not fit into this mold then we’re considered failures are parents. Emily’s mother is tormented by the phone call which sets off a wave of maternal guilt. Emily’s mother was young and abandoned by her husband while Emily was still an infant so she had to rely on only herself and the advice of others while she raised her daughter. After Emily was born her mother, “with all the fierce rigidity of first motherhood, (I) did like the books said.
The story is about a little girl seeing her mother as a flawed woman. The first day of school or the young girl, she found out her mother is not perfect. It’s not easy when you grew up expecting something, but after a while you find out the opposite is completely right.
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.
At this point in the story we know this is a highly charged question. If “ironing” stands in for all of the material difficulties- poverty, single motherhood, illness, etc.- that made the narrator a “distracted mother,” Emily’s question is really about whether her mother will ever pay attention to her. The story ends with a response to the teacher that sounds like a prayer. “Let her be.” The narrator goes on, “Only help her to know- help make it so there is a cause for her to know- that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron” (Olsen, 56). Even though the mother is still not confident that her daughter will escape her fate, “helpless before the iron,” she has at least the fervent hope that she will realize the immense promise of her talent.
It was hard for her mother to have a baby at a young age herself and try to make ends meet was not easy. She needed to lean on others for help, which she thought at the time was right thing to do, but got caught up on her new family. This is why Emily had so much resentment towards her mother. This story is a great example of a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. The story does great job showing the mother’s anguish over her daughter, and a depressed teen that needed her mother and is struggling to overcome a very unhappy childhood.