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

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

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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. The stage in life that the mother in the story is going through is called child development, and within this complicated stage arise many new worlds of imagination, emotional journeys, and soothing memories. The whole story is based around a mother's view, and joy, of her child growing up in a world filled with barriers and hurdles that she must overcome. The entire point of view is that of the narrator, as a mother concerned with the way her child is being raised and the hardships she must overcome. She also witnesses her daughter?s happiness and the colorful meanings of life that she discovers herself. I believe this story is based around the hardships of growing up as a woman in the Nineteen-hundreds. It has all the symbolism of being a true feminist short story. As Elaine Orr expresses in her criticism, Tillie Olsen and a Feminist Spiritual Vision, about how ?Suddenly Emily is emblematic of all children, of the next generation??(EO 84) that the times were of the early feministic era. When feminists were about conquering oppression and rising above the rest of the doubt that society places upon them. She talks about how ?Emily will not survive. If she does not believe in future presence, in beginnings latent in her own life, all is lost: past, present, and future.?(EO 84) expressing once again how the times were differen...


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...cts of the mother and the descriptions, which are presented to us from her, are very conclusive and need to be further examined to draw out any further conclusions on how she ?really? felt. The mother-daughter relationship between the narrator and her daughter bring up many questions as to their exact connection. At times it seems strong, as when the narrator is relating her childhood and recounting the good times. Other times it is very strained. All in all the connection between the two seems to be a very real and lifelike account of an actual mother-daughter relationship.


Bibliography:

1. Orr, Elaine. Tillie Olsen and a Feminist Spiritual Vision. Jackson: University Press, 1987
2. Responding to Literature. ?I Stand Here Ironing?. Mayfield Publishing Company: Judith Stanford. 1999. Pg. 815-821.

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