Family Relationships: Sonny Blues by James Baldwin and I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

Family Relationships: Sonny Blues by James Baldwin and I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

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In the two texts “Sonny Blues” by James Baldwin and “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen, the authors focus on relationships between family members. The stories are narrated by the brother in “Sonny Blues” and mother “I Stand Here Ironing”, therefore the story are only told through the point of view of the family member. Olsen conveys to readers that the mother does not have control over how her daughter, Emily, is raised and the internal conflict that comes along with mother. However, Baldwin shows a lack of family ties between Sonny’s and his brother. As a result, conflicts arise between the brothers in “Sonny’s Blues”. The conflicts in Baldwin and Olsen stories determine the stagnation relationships between families.
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...


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...school. Under those circumstance, Sonny’s brother disprove the idea of being a musician. Therefore, even though narrator did not support Sonny dreams in the end he did accomplish his dream as a musician. Although the relationships are based on different events, it shows the same point that both narrator did have loves for their daughter Emily and Sonny. As a final point view family member was not be able to support cause of lack of circumstances in the family.



Works Cited

Baldwin, James. "Sonn'ys Blues." Literature:A Portable Anthology. 3rd Editor.eds.
Janet E. Gardner , Beverly Lawn , Jack Ridl , Peter Schakel. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2013. 250-276. Print.
Olsen, Tillie. "I Stand Here Ironing." Literature:A Portable Anthology. 3rd Editor.eds.
Janet E. Gardner , Beverly Lawn , Jack Ridl , Peter Schakel. Boston: Bedfor d/St.Martin’s, 2013. 223-229. Print.

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