The narrator stands working at her ironing board, responding mentally to a request Tillie Olsen was a high school dropout, who raised four children and. I stand here ironing is a personal and rich piece of literature owing to the fact that its subject matters have not been presented as black or white. “I Stand Here Ironing” is a short story by Tillie Olsen that was first published in See a complete list of the characters in “I Stand Here Ironing” and in- depth.

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Summary The narrator stands working at her ironing board, responding mentally to a request someone a teacher? The relationship between mother and daughter in this narrative is quite complex thus leading to the negative feelings that Emily has towards Olsen. The author was bold enough to present a realistic picture devoid of any alterations. However, Olsten persisted through all these problems. Eventually, she was able to come out of her difficult predicaments and thus show some optimism for the future.

As Olsen narrates the story of raising her first born daughter, one can see the guilt and loss of time that she feels concerning this matter.

Her involvement in these movements was therefore a way of protecting her interests as a working class mother and member of an exploited class. All in all, it can be said that the book was responsible for bringing out a fresh perspective on motherhood.

I Stand Here Ironing

Providing for her child on her own made it quite tricky to Olsen so she had to send Emily to relatives Olsen, 6. Olsen found it hard to make end meets at such difficult times. Stereotypical images of happy American families were challenged through this short story and therefore contributed to an understanding of motherhood as being an immensely personal and unique experience to all individuals. She will find her way. And then, she recalls, out of nowhere Emily won first prize in her school amateur show.


The girl is a natural performer, a wonderful comedienne, who now is in demand throughout the city and state.

Mother daughter conflicts or parent fuol child conflicts are also an important theme in the book. Another emerging theme in the story is the personal effects of national economic downfall.

Throughout the book, one cannot help but wonder what would have happened to Emily if her father had been around. This story therefore places the mother daughter conflicts in perspective by illustrating the origin of these problems.

The real action is internal, a form of biographical free association reflected in Olsen’s fragmented style. Stanf a youngster who needs help. Reference Kelly, Joseph, ed.

Furthermore, society had not instilled certain social support services such as welfare and the like. Families all over America had tiolie contend with economic challenges and nowhere were these forces more evident that in the single stamd homes. Suddenly, Emily appears on the scene. I stand here ironing is a personal and rich piece of literature owing to the fact that its subject matters have not been presented as black or white; they each have their own flaws and inadequacies. Emily feels that she missed out on some of the critical factors of growing up.

Olsen was abandoned by her husband and left to fend for her family at an early age Olsen, 5. Indeed the story of Olsen was one that was rarely told in fictional tales at the time.

I Stand Here Ironing [FREE Text Sample!]

There is no climax, no answer, no satisfactory conclusion–just the mother’s tormented moving mentally “back and forth with the iron. Because of the nature of her background, she was not in a position to stand up for her rights. In “I Stand Here Ironing,” not much happens: She talks about all the poverty that they had to deal with.

This eventually affected her parenting abilities. Three of the four stories included in Tell Me a Riddle were published separately during the late ‘s, and Tell Me a Riddle [see annotation in this database] won the O’Henry Award for the best short story of External factors are therefore critical in determining how the lives of individuals eventually play out.


The predicaments faced by this young mother would have been much less if her external environment had been less harsh. Olsen is a single mother who is faced with the task of bringing up a sickly child Emily on her own. This could be an illustration of how unfair the system was to them.

I Stand Here Ironing

Olsen had the best intentions and actually did what she could at those times. These themes make the story relevant today as it was during the time of its writing.

However, through the use of theme, readers can identify with their circumstances and hence understand the igoning of their troubles.

It shows how members of that society often struggled with selfhood and therefore had to sacrifice some of their other roles in order to meet these perspectives head on. First, she had to abandon the plans that she had for her education. As Olsen thinks about her early life with young Emily, she creates an image of very difficult circumstances. Emily longs to enjoy a normal life but may feel that too much has been said and done to allow her this Olsen, 8.

Additionally, the image portrayed of women in this story is one of an unfair economical system. In addition, Olsen was left by her spouse. Gender roles are also another important theme in the book.