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Why Compare Kincaid's "Girl" and Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing"

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Why Compare Kincaid's "Girl" and Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing"

Page 1 of 4
Why compare Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” and Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” Daughter and mother relationship is an endless topic for many writers. They meant to share the bond of love and care for each other. Nevertheless, in the real world their relationship is not as successful as it ought to be. The stories “Girl” and “I Stand Here Ironing” are examples of this conflict. The author of the short story “Girl” Jamaica Kincaid was born and raised up to the age of seventeen in Antigua, a former colony of Great Britain. In her short story “Girl”, Kincaid presents the experience of being young and female in a poor country. The story is structured as a single sentence of advice that a mother gives to her daughter. The mother expresses her resents and worries about her daughter becoming a woman. The author of “I Stand Here Ironing” is Tillie Olsen, an American writer of Russian-Jewish descendent. Similarly her story portrays powerfully the economic domestic burdens a poor woman faced, as well as the responsibility and powerlessness she feels over her child’s life. Moreover, the woman is grieving about her daughter's life and about the circumstances that shaped her own mothering. Both stories have many features in common. Not only do they explore the troubles that could exist in the relationship between mother and daughter, but also they raise questions about motherhood, especially when a mother lives on a shoestring, the stories explore the difficulties that a young mother has to endure while raising her child in poverty. Although the two stories refer to different place and time, they share the theme of poverty. On the one hand, “I Stand Here Ironing” is set in 1950s in the USA. However, it also gives some account of 1930s and 1940s as it follows the life of the author from birth till early adolescence. During this period the USA suffered one of its deepest crises and also participated in WWII. We can easily presume how poor the conditions of life in America were...

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