The Mother in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen Essay examples

The Mother in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen Essay examples

Length: 1489 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...


... middle of paper ...


... 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

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Mother in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen Essay examples

- 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....   [tags: two kinds, mother and daughters]

Powerful Essays
1489 words (4.3 pages)

An Analysis of the Mother in Tillie Olsen's Story, "I Stand Here Ironing"

- The mother in Tillie Olsen’s story, “I Stand Here Ironing” gives insight into the upbringing of her first child. We see she is guilty of neglect towards Emily and is distressed due to poor decisions that she had made rearing her daughter. The mother reflects on the past and thinks that her actions and “lack of” might have affected Emily. She is so engulfed in “what ifs” and “how could I’s” that she is practically beating herself mentally. Poor Emily received little attention when attention was needed, allowing us to condemn the mother for her actions....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)

Mother Daughter Relationship in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen Essays

- Mother Daughter Relationship in I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen If Only.... Almost every parent dreams of giving their children what they never had growing up. However, unavoidable situations cannot be changed and we are forced to make do with what life gives us. Life’s twists and turns are not always predicted, we get caught up with other things and lose sight of the important ones. 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....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1387 words (4 pages)

Essay about I Stand Here Ironing By Tillie Olsen

- We all have taken an English Composition course. Our teacher lets us chooses a story from Seeing and Writing 4 that we have read, and our job is to go beneath the surface of the text. We dig down through the depths of context to find the underlying meaning of the author intends. It is through this journey that we uncover what interpretation is and how we find it through our journey. “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen is a story about her mother and daughter Emily relationship. The memory was not always a pleasant attribute to the mother not taking care of Emily the way that a mother typically would....   [tags: Family, Mother, Father]

Powerful Essays
1126 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

- “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen is a depiction of a mother-daughter relationship that lacks involvement and warmth. The whole story composed of the mother’s memory of her relationship with her daughter, Emily. The memory was a painful one comprised mostly of the way the mother was much less able to care for Emily. The forsaken of Emily demonstrates the importance of physical and emotional support. The mother was an invisible parent for Emily. Her reason for not being there for Emily was because she was a “young and distracted mother” (Olsen 262)....   [tags: Mother-daughter relationship]

Powerful Essays
505 words (1.4 pages)

`` I Stand Here Ironing `` By Tillie Olsen Essay

- 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....   [tags: Parent, Mother, Family, Father]

Powerful Essays
764 words (2.2 pages)

Parental Detachment in I Stand Here Ironing Essay

- Every parent knows how difficult it is to make decisions in the best interest of their children. There is always some doubt in the back of the mind, what if this happens or that happens. Tillie Olsen shows in her story “I Stand Here Ironing” the conflict and the results of one mother’s decisions. She illustrates the back, forth motion of the iron as the back and forth doubts in the mother’s mind. The detachment between mother and daughter in “I Stand Here Ironing” is understandable. The mother struggles daily with the decisions she made while her oldest child Emily was a young baby and toddler....   [tags: I Stand Here Ironing, parenting, ]

Powerful Essays
922 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

- 'I Stand Here Ironing' by Tillie Olsen A good example of Modernism is a short story called 'I Stand Here Ironing' by Tillie Olsen. This story not only portrays gender roles but also family roles. Here the narrator is a mother giving the reader a glimpse into her life, choices she made as a mother, and being a single parent. Through her defense of her situation, she exposes to the reader the underlying insecurities that riddle her mind about her mothering. The tale opens with the narrator explaining the pain she feels when she is reminded of her past and the choices she made....   [tags: Stand Ironing Tillie Olsen Essays]

Powerful Essays
669 words (1.9 pages)

Tillie Olsen’s I Stand Here Ironing Essay

- Tillie Olsen’s I Stand Here Ironing Tillie Olsen was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, the child of political refugees from Russia. Olsen dropped out of school at the age of sixteen to help support her family during the depression. She became politically active in the Young Communist League and was involved in the Warehouse Union’s labor disputes in Kansas City. Her first novel, Yonnondio, about a poor, working-class family, was begun when she was nineteen. While writing the novel over the next four years, she gave birth to her first child and was left to raise the baby alone after her husband abandoned her....   [tags: Olsen Stand Here Ironing Essays]

Powerful Essays
1058 words (3 pages)

Themes Illustrated in Tillie Olsen's I Stand Here Ironing Essay

- The story begins with a sentence “I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron” (Olsen 73). It is unusual that the story starts with a description of the mother ironing. This strategy easily draws readers’ attention and introduces the narrator character to the readers. “I stand here ironing” is a very straightforward and simple description, but yet it conveys a deeper meaning and draws the readers into the narrative. The mother’s ironing provides the metaphor for the whole story....   [tags: I Stand Here Ironing]

Powerful Essays
738 words (2.1 pages)