When reading the short story ? I Stand Here Ironing? written by Tillie Olsen I analyzed the story by using both feminist criticism and the formalist strategy. The author uses a iron as a metaphor for how the woman in the story tells the life of her daughter and why her daughter is the way that she is. In a way the woman lays everything out on the table and irons it out straight.
Many single mothers can relate to this story because it tells about the hardships that some unfortunate mothers? have to face. In this story Emily was born during the depression. Her mother had to work because she was a young single parent, as read in the story Emily?s father could ? no longer endure?. I believe that the mother cared for Emily she hated to leave her with her fathers relatives.
Olsen wrote that the character did everything by the book she breast fed by the clock like they said. At that time ?they? were the male doctors who thought they knew all about motherhood. As a woman I would think Redmond2 that a woman would know what is best for both the mother and her child. By the end of the story the mother and daughter relationship grew a little closer Emily who lacked meaning found a talent . Emily also gained a sense a sense of responsibility by taking care of her siblings.
Olsen uses the iron as a metaphor a number of times through out the story. In the first paragraph the mother says, ?and what you asked me moves back and forth with the iron?. I think that the mother is trying to sort out the good and the bad through out Emily?s life. She tells of what had to be done not what should have been done. The woman realizes that her daughter lacks meaning in life. The mother questions herself on the upbringing of her oldest daughter Emily compared to the other children.
In the last sentence of the story it reads ?help make it so that there is cause for her to know that she she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron? What the mother is trying to say is Emily is like she is because that?s how she brought her up it could be un helped at the time the mother is also reassuring herself by thinking she could be worse don?t we all have our faults?
Courtney from Study Moose
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