I Stand Here Ironing

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The Distant Relationship between a Daughter and Her Mother
Senior year is time for high school students to celebrate their accomplishments and move on to their new life - an independent life from parents. However, you should respect and appreciate these last moments of love, care and support from your parents because many unfortunate children such as Emily in “I Stand Here Ironing” story written by Tillie Olsen have not received all the care from their parents since their youth age. Olsen expresses successfully in this monologue story the distance between a mother and her daughter along with the mother’s guilty feeling of not being able to fix their relationship.

“I Stand Here Ironing” story begins with the dialogue of the unnamed narrator, a mother, who is ironing while speaking on the phone with an unnamed individual who is most likely a social worker, teacher, or counselor. This person has asked the narrator to help him or her understand the narrator’s daughter, Emily, a young woman whom the person claims is in need of assistance. However, the narrator said, “you think because I am her mother I have a key … that has happened outside of me, beyond me” (Olsen 62). It is strange for a mother to make this statement, but Emily’s mother believes she is inefficient to change Emily. Then, she sinks in her own memory about Emily to explain her inability.

With emotional voice, the narrator starts describing how beautiful Emily was when she was a baby and breast-fed by the narrator. It seems like she used to have very close relationship with Emily. However, the story changes from warm feeling of a mother to her first born child to the cold distant relationship between them. When Emily was eight months old, the narrator was forced to leave her in the care of a neighbor because Emily’s father had left unexpectedly, unable to bear the family’s poverty. The unlucky mother recalls running home from work to retrieve Emily, who always cried when she spotted her....
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