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The Mother in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

Powerful Essays
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. In Jing Mei’s child perception, she believes that because her mother stops pushing her to play piano after this, she really wishes her two babies were here instead of Jing Mei. Jing Mei cannot begin to understand what an ideal mother is, because of the complexity of humans. Is a perfect mother someone who is overworked and thus absent or someone overbearing and a perfectionist or easily persuaded and thus unfair? In the stories: Two Kinds by Amy Tan, I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen, and Everyday Use by Alice Walker, the notion of reconciliation between mothers and daughters is explored. Forgiveness made through both daughters and mothers being able to understand and accept the reasoning behind a mother’s actions, which, as young girls, the daughters unfortunately misunderstood.
In the story Two Kinds by Amy Tan, Jing Mei’s mother’s obsession with making Jing Mei a prodigy is the cause of destruction in their relationship but, once Jing Mei begins to understand her mother’s reasoning, the enabler for their reconciliation. For instance, Jing Mei struggles with trying to play the role of the...

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... she also believes Emily turned out well, because she is not helpless and she can find her way. Emily’s mother realizes she has no control over the circumstances, now only the ability to respond to them and to learn from the experiences. This allows a reconciling process to occur within her, because although she was not able to raise Emily like she wanted to, she did the best she could under the circumstances.

Works Cited

Schilb, John. “Two Kinds.” Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers.
4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. . Print.
Schilb, John. “I Stand Here Ironing.” Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and
Writers. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. . Print.
Schilb, John. “Everyday Use.” Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and
Writers. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. . Print
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