Compare and Contrast the Ways in Which Conflicts Between and Within Generations (Parents and Children, Friends and Their Peers) Provide Complication and Develop Theme in "The Loons" and "I Stand Here Ironing."

Topics: Family, Short story, Crying Pages: 3 (1196 words) Published: July 1, 2011
Essay 1 – “The Loons” and “I Stand Here Ironing”

2. Compare and contrast the ways in which conflicts between and within generations (parents and children, friends and their peers) provide complication and develop theme in "The Loons" and "I Stand Here Ironing."

In Margaret Laurence’s short story “The Loons” and Tillie Olsen’s short story “I Stand Here Ironing”, the shared theme is that conflicts between your peers and family members make it difficult to find one’s identity. The character Piquette Tonnerres in “The Loons” and Emily in “I Stand Here Ironing”, are searching for their identities. Both characters are facing complications finding their place in the world due to conflicts between and within generations. One conflict they share is that they have difficulty finding their identity since they are not like other young girls in their society. Piquette’s family is “French half-breeds” according to the citizens of Manawaka and this racism makes Piquette feel isolated. Emily is thin and dark haired in a society where girls should be chubby with curly blond hair. Emily and Piquette also face conflicts that do not have a commonality. Emily is always looking for attention from her mother, but her mother is always busy with other things. Piquette, however, is offered attention and kindness when she is at the Diamond Lake cottage, but, rather than accept it, she continues to isolate herself. Another conflict the girls have in common is that they aren’t given the care they need and are forced to grow up fast resulting in a shorter childhood making the search for their identity even harder.

In “The Loons”, Piquette is in an ongoing conflict with the society in which she lives. Her family is said to be “French half-breeds” and they are different then the rest of the families that live around them. In the story, Vanessa’s grandmother says, “… if that half-breed youngster comes along to Diamond Lake, I’m not going…” (Laurence 198) Piquette’s family was scorned by...
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