Essay about I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

Essay about I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

Length: 669 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

'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. The main character reflects on how the situation may or may not have affected her child Emily. As she suggests, although it is years later, she still does not have time for her children. The mother feels all her children after Emily have had it better. With that said, I shall try to explore the question. What is the difference from then and now?

As a young mother, the narrator expresses how she wanted to be the best mother, the right mother for her child Emily. She admits that she was a first time mother ? ?with all the rigidity of first motherhood?? She reads books to educate her self and she believes the ?experts? and what makes the best kind of mother. Tillie Olsen writes about how the character, through physical sacrifice, nursed her child. The story raises our awareness of gender and family roles by the comments of the narrator. We become aware of the constraints we place upon ourselves t...

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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]

Better Essays
1058 words (3 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Stand Here Ironing Olsen Essays]

Better Essays
863 words (2.5 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]

Better Essays
738 words (2.1 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]

Better Essays
1126 words (3.2 pages)

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]

Better Essays
1489 words (4.3 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]

Better Essays
764 words (2.2 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]

Better Essays
505 words (1.4 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]

Better Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)

Untraditional Techniques in I Stand Here Ironing Essay examples

- Untraditional Techniques in I Stand Here Ironing In "I Stand Here Ironing", Tillie Olsen uses a very untraditional plot to achieve a lasting impression with her readers. Her technique reaches out and grabs you as you read. She accomplishes this by speaking in first person, second person, and third person and by using flashbacks in non-chronological order. These techniques draw you into the plot and make you pay closer attention to what is going on. One specific way that Olsen achieves this is by talking in first person and in third person....   [tags: Tillie Olsen Stand Here Ironing Essays]

Better Essays
564 words (1.6 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]

Better Essays
1387 words (4 pages)